The Burundian forward grabbed a goal and set up another as the Jangwani giants maintained their great start to the season
Saidi Ntibazonkiza produced a superb display in his debut for Young Africans (Yanga SC) as they roared past Dodoma Jiji 3-1 in a Mainland Premier League match played on Saturday.
The Burundian star, who was signed in November but was yet to get clearance to play since the transfer window was still closed, was the star man for the Jangwani giants as he scored one goal and set up another to help the team open an eight-point gap at the summit.
However, it was the promoted side who took a shock lead in the third minute as Seif Karihe took advantage of a blunder by keeper Metacha Mnata to score with a header.
The goal awoke Yanga, who threw everything at Dodoma and it was no surprise when captain Lamine Moro met a free-kick from Michael Sarpong, and turned round to smash it home.
The teams headed into the half-time break tied at 1-1 but Yanga came back a more rejuvenated side as they sought to take the lead and protect their unbeaten run, and their relentless efforts were rewarded in the 69th minute when Ntibazonkiza announced his arrival with a beautifully taken goal.
Defender Bakari Mwamnyeto then made it 3-1 in favour of Yanga after a free-kick from Ntibazonkiza was not cleared by Dodoma defenders, and he used the half chance to squeeze the ball past the legs of the keeper and ensure they claim maximum points from the tie played in Arusha.
The win has now seen the Timu ya Mwananchi stretch their unbeaten run to 16 matches and they will remain at the top of the 18-team table with a gap of eight points since second-placed Simba SC, who are away in Zimbabwe for Caf Champions League duty, have 32 points and third-placed Azam FC 29.
The win also ensured new Yanga coach Cedric Kaze maintained his unbeaten start with the team he joined in mid-October after the sacking of Serbian Zlakto Krmpotic.
In other matches played on Saturday, promoted Gwambina FC secured a 1-1 draw against Tanzania Prisons, while Mtibwa Sugar scored through Riphat Khamis in the 42nd minute to sink JKT Tanzania.
Elsewhere, another promoted Ihefu FC picked up a vital win after sinking KMC FC 1-0.