Tanzania government changes tune, wants league to resume on home and away basis

Azam FC in action.
Azam FC.
The government has now asked the league organisers to make sure top-flight matches are played on a home and away basis

The Tanzania government have now scrapped their earlier proposal to stage Mainland Premier League matches in two centres.

The government in conjunction with Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) had already picked Mwanza and Dar es Salaam to stage the remaining rounds of matches.

However, with the league set to return on June 13 after it was halted in mid-March owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has now changed their tune and asked TFF to make sure that all matches are played on a home and away format.

“The government has unanimously agreed to have the remaining league matches played on a home and away basis as it is always the rule,” a statement from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports, signed by Hassan Abbasi and obtained by Goal stated on Sunday.

The latest statement comes just hours after the government issued stringent measures which will have to be followed when the league resumes.

Among the tough rules included players and officials undergoing mandatory Covid-19 tests, while temperature tests would be done under the supervision of top medical experts.

The government also stated players and officials travelling in team buses will be required to ensure they sit far enough apart on the way to the stadium.

TFF and sports associations were also urged to make sure they have enough water in place as well as sanitizers (inside and outside match venues), and all this will be used when entering the pitch before matches.

The organisers will be required to open gates early enough to avoid fans crowding the area, while the seating arrangements must see the one-metre distance rule followed.

The government also warned against wild celebration, saying any goal scored should not invite hugging, while the exchange of jerseys at the end of the match and handshake (before and after the match) will also not be tolerated.

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In addition, substitutes sitting on the bench will be required to wear masks and must sit a metre apart, while players coming off the pitch will be required to wear masks immediately leaving the field.

Simba SC will be seeking to clinch their third straight title and secure a ticket to represent the country in the Caf Champions League.

Before the league took a break, most teams had played 28 matches out of 38, with 20-time champions Simba leading the pack with 71 points.