Miraji Athumani ‘Shevchenko’
Previously part of Simba’s B team, Miraji Athumani rebuilt his reputation at the middleweight clubs Mwadui and Lipuli to spark a rethink from Simba’s hierarchy. That said, not much was expected from the winger after a Simba recruitment spree which saw more eye-catching names, inside Tanzania and beyond, get the headlines.
Eye-catching names they may be, but it’s Athumani who has caught the eye on the pitch with his output in the attacking third. Nicknamed ‘Shevchenko’ for his running style, the summer signing has quickly hit the ground running to vindicate his former employees’ decision to bring back his services.
Named Player of the Month for October 2019, the winger was arguably the outstanding player of the first half of the season before injury paused his season.
For over a decade Tanzania has looked for a centre back to follow the footsteps of its ageing ones. There has certainly been a dearth of options in the position in the last decade, and that remains the case. There remains very few young centre backs in the top flight which can mean the emergence of one can make people over-excited.
Many seem to think Bakari Mwamnyeto could be the answer. The Coastal Union captain has had a breakout season with his side sitting comfortably in the top half. International recognition has come his way with solid performances next to Kelvin Yondani have shown that he does have the temperament. A summer tussle between Yanga and Simba, the two big clubs of Tanzania, is ongoing with one of them set to spend big to cover a core position.
The Ghanaian winger signed for Young Africans in January and has made an instant impact. A stunning free kick to win the Dar es Salaam derby in February was enough to justify his signing and trigger the process to extend his contract.
His trickery on the ball and showboating has quickly made him a fan favourite. Before his signing Young Africans had toiled through the season with a group of players that were hard working but not easy on the eye, and certainly not match-winners.
Morrison hasn’t played that many games but it’s a reflection of his impact that he’s now seen as probably the first name on the team sheet.
The right back’s consistency continues to remain remarkable. The Ugandan international has hardly put a foot wrong since joining Azam two years ago. It’s harder to shine as a defender in the Tanzanian Premier League, especially when playing right back for an Azam team that gets air time but nowhere near as much as the big two in the country.
Wadada’s contributions on both ends of the pitch, however, have made him defy the odds. He could easily walk into any team in the country. And on the evidence of the last two seasons, the Uganda international should be playing at a higher level.
Namungo have been the surprise package of the TPL season so far. The promoted side weren’t expected to be sitting in fourth position with 10 games to go, but fourth they are – they can safely start to plan for next season.
The problem is they may encounter this summer is how they keep their best players. The output of their attack, which includes the rangy Bigirimana Blaise, Reliants Lusajo and the pint-sized Lucas Kikoti, has been one of the main reasons behind their success.
Kikoti has thrived between the lines of midfield and attack with four goals and five assists to his name. Not only has he found good spaces in and around the box but also finding others in spaces with his final pass. His reputation as one of the best attacking midfielders in the country has seen him rewarded with starts for the national team.