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Black History Month: The Dar Es Salaam Derby

We learn about one of the great rivalries in African soccer.

Tanzanian Boys Playing Soccer on Beach Photo by David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

The shores of Tanzania yield one of the beautiful cities on the continent in Dar Es Salaam. The capital of Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam is home to millions of people and one of the great rivalries in African soccer. Young Africans SC and Simba SC form the Dar Es Salaam, or Kariakoo Derby.

The derby is one that is not only the largest in Tanzania, it’s one of the biggest in all of Africa. The derby includes millions of fans that support throughout East Africa, and whenever there’s a match, fans will come in from surrounding countries to breathe in the atmosphere of this deep rivalry. It extends beyond soccer, and it’s treated more as a cultural phenomenon whenever these two teams face off on the field.

The rivalry dates back to the mid-1960s, when the two teams first met in the Tanzanian Premier League. Two of the biggest clubs in all of Tanzania, the teams are constantly competing for players, points, and titles. Young Africans SC, whose fans affectionately call “Yanga,” was established in 1935 and quickly became a symbol of the anti-colonial movement. The club became so influential that one of Tanzania’s major political parties adopted the club’s yellow and green as their colors.

Simba was founded in 1936 as a breakaway club from Yanga. A group of disgruntled members and supporters decided to form their own club away from the Young Africans. The team was eventually named Queens after Queen Elizabeth II. After a few name changes, includings Eagles and Sunderland, they renamed in 1971 as Simba, which is Swahili for lion. They have since grown to be one of the richest clubs in East Africa.

Both call the 60,000 seat Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium home, and that only adds to the rivalry. With Yanga’s yellow and green colors taking the field opposite Simba’s red and white, fans dress up to support their teams and pack the National Stadium whenever this derby takes place.

Source: Pan African Football

Yanga has won 28 Tanzanian Premier League titles and are currently the title holders. They’ve also won 5 Tanzanian FA Cups (again, most recently last year), 7 Tusker Cups, 3 Mapinduzi Cups (a Cup competition that takes place in Zanzibar), and 7 Community Shields. Yanga has also won the CECAFA Club Championship 5 times.

Simba, on the other hand, has 22 league titles, 7 FA Cups, 5 Tusker Cups, 3 Mapinduzi Cups, and 9 Community Shields. They have also won 6 CECAFA Club Championships. Whenever the teams meet, it’s normally a decider in who goes on to win the league or who may lift a trophy in a cup competition. Because of that, the passion and fierceness of the rivalry is always present on the field and in the stands.


For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing stories throughout the month to highlight some of the biggest moments in Black American and world soccer history.