The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has apologised to stakeholders over the aborted Kariakoo derby on Saturday.
The much-awaited showdown between traditional Tanzania rivals Simba SC and Young Africans was called off at the eleventh hour, leaving fans fuming.
Yanga, the visiting team, protested the change to the kick-off time from 5pm to 7pm by TFF.
TFF communicated the change of kick-off time to both clubs on match day, a clear violation of its own rules and regulations.
According to reports, TFF wanted the match delayed to give room for an event where the country’s second president, retired 95-year-old Ali Hassan Mwinyi, was launching a book on his political life.
The event, held at the State House, was attended by Tanzania President Samia Suluhu. However, Yanga protested the decision saying the teams should have been informed of the change 24 hours before the initial kick-off time according to the TFF rules.
The record Tanzanian champions arrived on the pitch at 4pm and left some minutes after 5pm, while Simba came in at 6pm and started their pre-match warm up routine.
The postponement drew a lot of criticism with fans from both sides of the divide, who had thronged the 60,000 capacity Benjamin Mkapa Stadium to watch the derby, trading accusations and counter-accusations.
“TFF is saddened by what transpired on Saturday that led to the cancellation of the Mainland League match between Simba and Yanga SC.
“TFF takes the opportunity to apologise to all stakeholders; those who had paid to watch the game in the stadium, those who were ready to watch on TV, those who were following on radio as well as those who were ready to provide services,” read a statement.
The match would have played a role in deciding the destiny of the Vodacom Premier League title. Yanga are on 57 points just four points adrift of league leaders Simba SC. Simba have two games in hand and chasing a fourth consecutive title.
By FARPost Reporter