Yanga win Tusker title
Two quick fire goals in the last five minutes of regulation time were enough for Yanga to beat Kenya champions Sofapaka and win the Tusker Challenge Cup title on 2-1 goals at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.
Highly determined Yanga team trailed by Wanyama Thomas’s 35 minute dead ball thunderbolt that sailed into the net past their Serbian goalkeeper, Obren Circovich.
Wanyama took the free kick outside the box when defender Mohamed Mbegu fouled striker John Onani who was negotiating his way to score.
Yanga trailed by the lone goal up to the half time and for most of second half when Sofapaka resorted to defensive display especially in the last fifteen minutes.
Coach Papic had replaced defender Shadrack Nsajigwa and striker Jerry Tegete in favour of Fred Mbuna and Boniface Ambani respectively. Sofapaka coach Robert Matano never changed his line up.
Ambani capitalised on goalmouth melee to slot in the much needed equaliser with five minutes to time to revive confidence of his team mates.
Yanga besieged Sofapaka goal in search of a winning goal that eventually materialised when Ambani put through Mrisho Ngasa to conclude the move with a rasping shot as Sofapaka never recovered.
Yanga finished the two-weeklong tournament with unique unbeaten run, knocking out every opponent right from the group stages.
The Mainland champions have now won the Tusker Challenge Cup title for the second time since 2007. The victory has continued the tradition of host teams to win the title since the tournament was inaugurated in 2001.
The match ended with a tense brawl when Sofapaka goalkeeper Mike Obunyi confronted Ugandan referee David Bate intending to assault him before police made timely intervention.
It took time for the brawl to recede as Sofapaka players were hurled outside the pitch by policemen while Yanga players and their fans joined in the celebration on the main stand to end the year on high note.
Yanga won the 40m/- cash prize set aside by the East African Breweries, the tournament sponsors and half of the amount was collected by the losing finalists. It has been the first title for the Serbian coach Papic since he took over in October.
Six teams divided into two groups competed in the tournament that included Zanzibar champions Mafunzo FC, holders Mtibwa Sugar, Simba and Tusker FC.
Obren Circovich, Shadrak Nsajigwa/Fred Mbuna, Amir Maftah, Mohamed Mbegu, Nadir Haroub, Athuman Idd, Mrisho Ngasa, Abdi Kassim, Jerry Tegete/ Boniface Ambani, Kigi Makasi,
Coach: Kostadin Papic
Mike Obunyi, Kanadi Michael, James Sithuma, Tumba Kilonzo, Edgar Ochieng, Nucholas Muyoti, Humphrey Ochieng, Kimani Anthony, Wanyama Thomas, Bob Mugaliya and John Onani.
Coach: Robert Matano