Young Africans fans speak all things Yanga!

Kilimanjaro – “Mount” or as they say in Swahili, “Mlima”, is the highest mountain in Tanzania and Africa, as well as the world’s highest free standing mountain.

Tanzania shares lakes with three different neighbouring countries, namely lake Tanganyika with D.R Congo, Lake Victoria with Uganda, and Lake Nyasa, also known as Lake Malawi, with Malawi.

There are so many natural wonders in Tanzania, over and above the country’s generally warm, welcoming and friendly people, it is fitting then, for a Kingdom of such beauty, to also have two giant club soccer teams, known to have some of the most passionate fans on the continent.

Picture of Mount Kilimanjaro, from close by Moshi Town, picture courtesy of Deo Gracia Liwenga (@Dejoli08 on twitter)

This Is Football.Africa’s Umar Mathir, contacted three supporters of Young Africans Sports Club (Yanga SC), one of Tanzania, and one of East Africa’s biggest club football teams. This is how it all went down:

Umar Mathir (UM): Your thoughts about the 1 – 1 draw between the team you support, Young Africans SC (Yanga SC) and Simba SC in the most recent Kariakoo derby, the Dar es Salaam Derby?

Arqam Taher (AT): It was a fair result, Simba dominated the first half, and Yanga dominated the second half.

Michael Godwin Uronu (MGU): Well, first of all, when it comes to derby matches, it’s not about the technical preparation only, as it also involves the pressure from previous matches. I am talking about lost and drawn games, the log standings, as well as pressure from the fans. So, speaking about Yanga vs Simba, it’s clear that Yanga were supposed to get all three points, but due to the aforementioned factors, the final result came out as a draw.

Jesca Ngabo (JN): The game was so bad, the referee was one-sided, he didn’t do his job correctly.

UM: How was the game one sided Jesca? 

JN: I was unhappy, he was favouring “Makolokolo.”

UM: Yanga dominated in Tanzania in the past season (2021/2022), winning a treble, yet they have dropped into the CAF Confederation Cup, whilst the team that won absolutely no silverware in the country last season, Simba SC, have made it into the CAF Champions League group stages once more, why is this?

Yanga SC Trophy Parade (2021/2022 Treble winning season)

AT: I think a lack of experience on that stage, as you may already know, Yanga have last played CAFCL group stages 24 years ago, so they still have a lot to learn to pursue their dreams.

MGU: Hahaha, now it’s about each club’s individual opponents abilities, I mean, when you compare the opponent Simba faced, with the opponent Yanga faced, it’s a fact that most North African clubs are more consistent and competent at this level, please don’t quote me wrongly here, I’m not saying that the other teams in the competition are not competent, but when making comparisons, North African clubs usually stand out, more often than not, I think that’s a reason Yanga SC lost, they faced a club that currently is much more competent.

UM: How safe are supporters in Tanzania, especially for the big games, such as this Dar-Derby, and what improvements must happen?

AT:  This is one of the most civilized derbies you will ever experience, anywhere. There are only jokes and derby rivalry, no harm and crime, as for improvement, I have nothing to comment on.

MGU: There are isolated incidents of provocation, and perhaps violence too, but I personally have never experienced any such incidents.

Yanga SC
Yanga SC Trophy Parade (2021/2022 Treble winning season)

UM: How much does a normal league game ticket in the Tanzania Premier League cost in Tanzanian Shillings, and is the price the same for the Dar-Derby?

AT: Derby matches are more expensive than normal league games, here’s a simple breakdown:

The most recent derby tickets sold for:

VIP A Tsh30 000 (Just under R250)

VIP B Tsh20 000 (Just under R160)

VIP C Tsh10 000 (Just under R80)

Stands Tsh5 000 (Just under R40)

Normal League ticket prices:

VIP A Tsh20 000 (Just under R160)

VIP B Tsh10 000 (Just under R80)

VIP C Tsh5 000 (Just under R40)

Stands Tsh3 000/Tsh2 000 (Just under R24/R16 respectively)

UM: Besides Yanga and Simba, how are crowds at other matches?

AT: Apart from matches which are played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, which are always almost full, to packed to capacity, for every Single Yanga and Simba home game. When other teams host Yanga and Simba, they can also very easily fill their home-ground stadiums to capacity, whilst their other normal matches also receive decent crowds mostly.

UM: For the readers of This Is Football.Africa, who may or may not have heard this, is it true that during the peak of the COVID 19 pandemic, people still packed stadiums, and yet miraculously, no reports of anyone contracting the virus, at various stadiums around the country, were seemingly recorded ?

Current Yanga SC coach, Nasreddine Nabi

AT: Many feel that this so-called pandemic is fabricated, as no one that I know of, has seen scientific proof, or any kind of evidence brought forward to any of us.

UM: Ok, we will move on. Is food sold in and around the various stadiums in Tanzania? If yes, how are the prices? Is it cheap to buy food in or around the various stadiums?

AT: There are temporary stands and kiosks where you can buy, yet you will find that food prices are a bit higher than what you’d normally pay anywhere else.

UM: What do you think of the CAF Super League,  which is meant to kick off next year (2023), do you think there is a possibility that Yanga SC, or Simba SC, or perhaps even both teams will feature?

AT: I don’t know which method CAF will use to choose participating clubs, but I think both teams stand a good chance of featuring.

Yanga FC
Young Africans SC in action, during the 2020:2021 league campaign in Tanzania

UM: My next few questions, are with regards to something most people outside of Tanzania, or East Africa know about, are you ready for them?

MGU: Hahaha, yes and I’m so curious…

UM: What is the real meaning of the word, or name “Makolokolo?”

MGU: (Laughing alot) That’s a Swahili word that means “Alot of randomly, unplanned or roughly kept stuff.”

UM: (Also laughing) What kind of stuff?

MGU: HAHAHA, Anything like a chair, toys, keys, blah blah blah…

JN: (Laughing really hard) It means “Empty headed.”

UM: Okay, so now we know what “Makolokolo” means, why is that ‘title’ attributed to Simba SC?

MGU: Well, the name was innitially given to Simba SC last season, because the jersey they used had a lot of adverts on it, like “Mo Juice”, “Mo Pasta”, “Mo Cola” etc…. So, Yanga SC fans made a joke out of it, telling them “You guys aren’t wearing a jersey, you’re all wearing a whole collection of random items (“Makolokolo”).

UM: HAHAHAHA, So it’s still very much a brand new nickname?

MGU: HAHAHA, yes, and eventually the word was abbreviated to “Makolo”, which still means the same thing.

UM: Now for the bigger question, what is the meaning of “Utopolo,” the real true meaning, is it a Swahili word?

JN: It started from one of the Yanga fans, it doesn’t have a meaning…

MGU: Okay, unlike “Makolo,” the word “Utopolo” is not an official Swahili word, used to describe someone who is not serious about what he does, or unable to do something properly, sort of always doing things haphazardly, I don’t know how to describe this accurately in English, but it’s a slang word this side.

UM: All along I was under the impression that “Utopolo” means “Frog” (Laughing again) there are some Simba SC supporters who describe Yanga SC as a “Frog Team”. Do you have any idea what makes them say such a thing?

MGU: That’s another whole story on it’s own, and honestly most of us Young Africans fans from Dar es Salaam really don’t like that (Frog) emoji, especially when it’s used on social media sites and platforms (Laughing again).

UM: I have two original Young Africans SC jerseys currently, brought to me by Arqam Taher, one of them, the green 2020/2021 season jersey, I was told by someone, that from a distance, it resembles the skin of a frog….

MGU: I have a different comment to that, but I’d rather not say it here.

UM: Michael, on a matchday involving Yanga SC, how much do you spend on average, travelling and food costs, including your tickets?

MGU: It usually depends on the stadium’s location, but for Dar es Salaam (Benjamin Mkapa Stadium), from where I reside, to that stadium costs me about 20 000 – 30 000(Tanzania Shillings), which are an equivalent of just under R160 – R250.

UM: Does it feel expensive for you as a fan?

MGU: Some people spend more than that amount, while others spend less, for me personally, I don’t find it expensive.

Yanga SC Trophy Parade (2021/2022 Treble winning season)

UM: During my visit to Tanzania, I saw a lot of “Bajaji” (name given to tuk-tuks in Tanzania), in reference to Bajaj Auto, who are known for manufacturing the three-wheeler motor vehicles. I’m guessing there are a lot of those around stadiums on match days?

MGU: Yes, there are alot of them.

UM: How much does a “Bajaj” cost you, from where you reside, to Benjamin Mkapa Stadium?

MGU: It costs me around Tsh3000 to the stadium, and another Tsh3000 back home, a total of Tsh6000 (R24 + R24, a total of R48 maximum, at the current exchange rate)

UM: Any message you would like to send to your fellow Yanga SC supporters, as well as to your favourite team themselves?

MGU: Yeah, I think as Yanga supporters, with regards to our team, we need to focus on what we have in front of us, the CAF Confederation Cup, and the league, and to not be discouraged by our CAFCL exit. The technical team seems to be at the height of it’s peak, as we observed good results, by managing a comeback in the Derby, as well as a positive result against KMC, so we as the fans, need to have the spirit of winning.

ALL GOOUM: Thanks for the wonderful insights…..

AT: Always a pleasure brother.

JN: Make sure you come to Tanzania again, it will be nice for me to meet you face to face for a change. 

MGU: Ahsante Sana Kaka (Thank you brother).

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