By Austin Oduor Otieno,
The Tanzanian top tier also known as the Vodacom Premier League will have a total of 16 teams in the next 2015/16 season. This decision had earlier been made before the start of the just ended season when the bottom two teams would get relegated while four teams would get promoted. The just concluded league where Yanga were champions had 14 teams.
In deciding that, The Tanzanian Football Federation said tremendous growth and achievement has been witnessed in the league and there was need for expansion as both neighbor Uganda and Kenya have 16 teams.
With that alignment,Mwadui FC of Shinyanga,Toto African of Mwanza ,Maji Maji FC of Songea and African Sports of Tanga all got promoted to the top tier in the 2015/16 Tanzanian League sponsored by Vodacom.
Two teams in Polisi Morogoro and Ruvu Shooting got relegated in the final day of the season after losing their last matches.
The Vodacom league in the recent years used to relegate 3 teams and promote 3 but this has changed.
The battle to avoid relegation saw Ruvu Shooting who was in the 9th position move to the 13th position after losing 1-0 to promoted Stand United at the difficult Kambarage Stadium in Shinyanga .Polisi Morogoro too ended their stay at the top flight when they succumbed to the same scoreline at the Sokoine Stadium to Mbeya City. They now join the First Division League next season.
The First Division League is Tanzania’s second tier league which is divided into two Groups in A and B.The top two teams from each group sealed their promotion to the top tier.
Group A had Maji Maji of Songea and African Sports of Tanga.African Sports topped the group while Maji Maji were second.In Group B, Mwadui of Shinyanga topped the group followed by Mwanza’s side Toto African, also known as ‘extended Yanga’
It is interesting to note that two derbies will be witnessed in the top tier after the promotion of Mwadui who will rival Stand United who both play at the Kambarage Stadium in Shinyanga.The other derby is that of promoted African Sports against Coastal Union at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga.
A look at the Promoted teams.It is important to note that all the four teams have been in the top tier before.
Mwadui FC of Shinyanga Province gained their promotion after easily winning Group B of the the First Division League, ahead of Mwanza’s Toto African. They are the overall Second tier champions after beating Group A winners African Sports 1-0 in the final played at Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Their top scorer Kelvin Kongwe scored the all important goal in the 53rd minute.A season decider match that was played in February 22nd 2015.They plays their home matches at the Mwadui Sports Complex and their last match of the league was a 2-0 win over Bukinafaso FC before beating African Sports. The club boasts of being the club at the centre of Diamond mine and are sponsored by Williamson Diamond mine. The club is situated in Mwadui Town, just a few kilometers south of Mwanza City.
The Tanga based club earned their promotion after topping Group A of the second tier ahead of Maji Maji FC but lost in the play offs to Mwadui,a game that was to determine the overall winner of the second tier, The First National league. The club will add to 3 teams from Tanga after Ruvu Shootin went down.
The Club plays their home matches at the Mkwakwani stadium in the coastal town.JKT Mgambo is another team from Tanga and this will see Tanzanians witness two derbies outside Dar es Salaam.
The Mwanza (Rock City) based club which plays their home matches at the 35,000 seater CCM Kirumba Stadium are back to the top flight after 5 years out. The last time they featured in the top tier was in the 2012/13 season. The Club has passionate fans that are some times referred to as ‘extend Mwanza ‘according to coach Tegete who has put his eyes on winning the 2015/16 Tanzanian Top league.
The Club was recently visited by Rorya Member of Parliament Lameck Airo Okambo who doubles up as the patron. The tycoon who owns the famous five Star hotel called Lakairo gave each player 1 million TSH approximately $588 in cash.Airo said Mwanza residents should unite to support the lakeside team and forget about the big clubs. The Club Chairman Ahmed Waziri GAO said they will retain most players and sign new players from Kenya and Uganda.
Maji Maji FC
Maji Maji FC earned their slot in the top tier after they were second in Zone A behind leaders African Sports of Tanga.The Club is based in Songea where they play their matches at the 30,000 stadium Majimaji stadium.Songea is the capital of Ruvuma Province in the South Eastern Tanzania.Majimaji are 3 times Tanzanian League Champions.
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