The Mwanza-based side will play next season in the second tier after falling in the playoffs
Mbao FC have been relegated from the Tanzania Mainland League despite their 4-2 win over Ihefu FC in the promotion/relegation play-offs, losing the two-legged tie on away goals.
In the first leg, Ihefu managed to claim a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Steven Mwaijala, who scored from the penalty spot after just four minutes, and Mridi Tangai, who struck with six minutes to go.
On Saturday, the Mwanza based side needed a convincing win to turn the tables and stay in the top tier.
Striker Waziri Junior, who finished as the league’s second-best goal scorer with 13 goals, opened the scoring in the eighth minute after heading in a Paul Peter cross to give his team hopes of getting a needed scoreline to play in top-flight football beyond this season.
However, in the 40th minute, Mbao conceded a free-kick which was taken by Sudi Mlindwa, Joseph Kinyozi managed to flick it past the defenders and into the back of the net to level the scores and break the hearts of home team supporters.
With seconds to the break, Babilas Chitembe managed to head the ball on the path of the dangerous Waziri, and the forward unleashed a one-time rocket to ensure Mbao went to the break with a slim advantage.
Two minutes after the break, Mbao gave their fans something to smile about when Michael Masinda turned the ball into his net under pressure from Waziri to make it 3-1.
Ihefu were not going to let this chance of dining with the big boys pass them and they continued pushing for another goal.
Their efforts paid dividends in the 88th minute. Willy Mgaya was fed the ball in a promising position, and he unleashed a fierce strike past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 on the day.
An Ihefu player handled the ball in the 18-yard area leaving the referee with no option but give the Mwanza side a penalty. Datius Peter converted to make it 4-2 in injury time.
It was too little too late as Ihefu held on to get promoted to Tanzania’s top-flight football.
In another play-offs match, Mbeya City guaranteed their stay in the top tier with a narrow 1-0 win against Geita Gold.
The two teams had played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg. The hosts needed an 11th minute Geoffrey Manyasi’s own goal to down the second-tier side.
Ihefu joins Gwambina and Dodoma Jiji in the Tanzania Mainland League while Mbao FC have been relegated alongside Alliance FC, Lipuli FC, Ndanda FC and Singida United.