A QUEST for supremacy and the desire to restore pride will both be at stake as Morogoro's Mtibwa Sugar confronts Simba SC in the final of the inaugural BancABC SUPER 8 tournament at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.
The two sides qualified for the final in extremely varying experience, in which Mtibwa Sugar commanded a 5-1 drubbing of Jamhuri of Pemba in the first semi-final while Simba, fielding its U-20 squad, defied critics and edged the experience-laden Azam FC 2-1 in a tightly contested second semi-final both played at the same venue on Wednesday.
Today's game is expected to draw plenty of attention particularly from Simba fans, who will be eager to see whether their young squad could maintain its fairytale run and beat Mtibwa Sugar to the trophy.
While the Msimbazi Street side's youth squad will be out to prove the doubting Thomases wrong by making short work of Mtibwa Sugar, the latter, comprising much more experienced performers, will seek to restore its status as one of the feared top flight outfits.
Simba youngsters have all along impressed many fans with their exciting displays, which helped them easily tame opponents that were previously hardly expected to easily succumb to the former.
Simba, which was in group A of the tournament in the early stage, started the event with a 1-1 draw with Jamhuri at the Azam Complex, Chamazi on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam before cruising to a 2-0 win over Mtendeni of Zanzibar in the second match played at the Ushirika venue in Kilimanjaro.
The Mainland Champions' outfit, whose senior side is currently camping in Arusha in preparation for both domestic and continental assignments, then wrapped up the group stage with a 2-0 victory over another Zanzibar side, Zimamoto, in a match played at the CCM-Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.
That saw the youngsters book a mouthwatering semi-final with Azam FC, a game that also happened to be an opportunity for the former to revenge for a defeat that the senior side suffered to Azam in the Kagame Cup last month.
Simba hardly hesitated to fully exploit their chances against Azam, in which the former turned in terrific displays to hold of the ice-cream makers' challenge despite the latter having comprised majority of the experienced senior side's players.
A much tougher opposition, though, could be in store for the Simba youngsters today considering that Mtibwa Sugar has also proved to be a well drilled side, which hardly wastes opportunities in matches. Mtibwa Sugar, fielding several newly recruited players, put scintillating performance against Jamhuri in the Wednesday semi-final, which turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Pemba outfit hardly put a fight.
Defender, Salvatory Ntebe, midfielders, Babu Ally and Awadh Issa, and former Azam FC's speedy striker, Jamal Mnyate, were on target for Mtibwa Sugar during the crushing defeat of Jamhuri and the Morogoro side will be gunning for similar solid displays against Simba in a bid to win silverware.