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What irked Yanga was being equal to Azam, or less

18th March 2012
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When premier league defending champions who are losing grip on the tournament, Yanga met Azam FC they were supposed to register a thumderous result to obliterate the scars of being thumped out of continental competition by Zamalek FC of Egypt.

It is hard to say if Yanga were indeed prepared for such an outing, as in that case they would have played well whatever opposition they would meet, which didn't happen. It is as if Azam coach Stewart Hall knows everything about how Yanga coach Kostadin Papic will place his players and thus what methods of countering them can work.

There is an element of truth in that hypothesis because Azam beat Yanga for the fourth time in a row, which means Yanga are inferior to Azam virtually in all departments, as their coach seems to be either incapable of learning how to contain Azam, or his solutions are ineffective.

Yanga did not seem to have found responses to that perceived weakness, in which case when it started to show up, and they were having a rough game which their rivals Simba SC were enjoying every minute of it, they exploded. As in usual conversation, when one explodes with anger it is a mark of being bereft of clear arguments...

Chances that the Jangwani Street side bounce back strongly enough to defend their title are thinning out, despite coming back to 'winning ways' with a 1-0 result past African Lyon. Being defeated by one side four times in a row suggests that the team is better by a convincing margin over the defeated side, in which case it loses the titlr and chases second or third place – but sports isn't that straightforward.

With a single point difference with Azam at least after the subsequent win, there is nothing technically impossible from an arithmetic viewpoint, but the trouble is that Yanga were drained of self-confidence.

In other words there is quite a hard climb for Yanga to make, as in tactical terms they have proved to be no match for Azam, as four consecutive losses to the same team leaves no doubt as to which side is well structured.

On the other hand they have to make a difficult psychological self-assessment to get out of the 'lese majeste' mentality, that being contained and finally losing to Azam yet again was something that was unacceptable, wishing more to shout at Azam to accept the usual premier league pecking order where Yanga and Simba are naturally the top clubs.Anything less than that is naturally hard to swallow.

It means that there are considerable chances that Yanga fail to appear among the top slots, first or second – unless those winning ways continue.

It would open up the possibility that Yanga loses each time it faces Azam but trusts that Azam makes errors with the other teams and loses, or has a paltry draw where Yanga in contrast does well, so that the points table can be improved vis a viz the Jangwani Street side.

But that is wishful thinking since Stewart Hall can't fail with others but always hits Yanga, in which case a disruptive premier league finish becomes something of distinct possibility, right now.

Pundits will say it is too early to draw the curtain and affirm a situation where Yanga isn't part of the top two, which isn't altogether strange because at one time Moro United were premier league champs, and then Mbeya Prisons had surprisingly taken the cup in some other season, implying that either Simba or Yanga would fail to make it to the top two, a shock for them.

The difference is that displacing Yanga wasn't the result of just spirited play; Azam is beefed with an academy issuing good players.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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