FC PLATINUM’S opponents in the Caf Confederation Cup first round, Young Africans of Tanzania suffered a blow to their preparations when they lost 1-0 to bitter rivals Simba SC in the Mainland Premier League at the 60 000-seater National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
Platinum and Yanga clash at the same venue on Sunday in the first leg.
The Zimbabwean side beat Sofapaka of Kenya 4-2 on aggregate while Yanga overcame BDF X1 of Botswana 3-2 to make the first round.
But on Sunday, Yanga suffered a bitter blown when they were blown away by an Emmanuel Okwi 30-metre drive in the second half to lose 1-0 in a tense match before a full stadium that had all the ingredients of a thriller.
Simba’s three crucial points saw them move to third on the log with 26 points from 17 games, reducing the gap with the table-topping Yanga to five points, with nine games to play.
Yanga lead the table on 31 points from 16 games, with defending champions Azam FC breathing down their neck in second position with 30 points.
According to reports, Yanga finished the match with 10 men after midfielder Haruna Niyonzima was sent out for a second bookable offence. Niyonzima reacted angrily and went on to kick the fourth official’s table as he walked towards the dressing room.
Typical of the biggest match in any country featuring the two most successful clubs, from the early hours of Sunday, fans donning colours representing the two clubs enthralled the city.
By noon, all roads were leading to the 60 000-seater state-of-the art arena as hundreds of fans streamed to the stadium. Some hired commuter buses, some boarded pick-ups while others drove saloon cars.
A good number of them even used motorcycles. Mandela Expressway and Kilwa Road were particularly the busiest roads, as exuberant fans utilised every available transport to get to the stadium.
Platinum, who were inactive over the weekend as the local Premiership is yet to start, leave on Friday for East Africa and are expected to be accompanied by their band of supporters who will pay a subsidised $57 for the trip.