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VPL title isn't Simba's yet, says Lipuli FC's Nonga

11:59 AM EST 2/6/20
Yanga SC vs Simba SC.
The striker is confident the competition is far from being settled despite a huge gap separating the two leading teams

Lipuli FC captain Paul Nonga has claimed the Vodacom Premier League title race is still wide open despite Simba SC enjoying a 12-point gap at the top of the table.

The VPL will be entering matchday 20 on Saturday, with Simba leading the pack while Azam FC are second on 38 points.

However, Nonga feels the title race is still open and that several different teams are still in with a shot at the title.

Lipuli were defeated 2-1 by Yanga SC on Sunda, and the victory helped the Dar es Salaam-based giants go third with 34 points.

“This season is unpredictable and anyone who is doing their homework well, win at home and away, is in pole position to win the title," Nonga told Azam TV. "We accept we have lost this match [against Yanga] but we will work hard to improve in the next tie

“In football, one will always be punished if he does mistakes which give the opponents a chance to attack. We made mistakes and conceded from them, but we accept and move on.

“We will prepare and ensure we get three points against Mtibwa Sugar [on Saturady]. I am sure the coach has seen the mistakes and will rectify them before the next match.”

Nonga was quick to acknowledge his side's strategy did not work as anticipated in the first half, as Yanga punished them to score the two goals via Mapinduzi Balama and Bernard Morrison's efforts.

“Our plan for the first half completely failed and that is why we had to restrategize during the half-time break and so we deployed a different game plan altogether for the second half,” the skipper noted. “For sure, we did well in the second half and also scored our only goal in the match.”

For his part, Yanga's captain Papy Tshishimbi stated their opponents proved hard to break down especially in the second half.

“I am thankful to my teammates for winning the match, the three points and that is what is very important for us than anything,” Tshishimbi said. “Lipuli defended deep in the second half and made our plans to attack them very hard indeed.

"They grew in confidence and we allowed them to play and eventually, they scored a goal," he added. “The coach had warned us Lipuli are going to be physical and very aggressive in the second half, and also told us to go for early goals then manage the match thereafter.”

Yanga will be hosted by Ruvu Shooting on Sunday for their 18th match of the season.