SIMBA SC head coach, Milovan Cirkovic, has bemoaned the absence of his first choice goalkeeper, Juma Kaseja, as the team disappointingly wrapped up the first phase of the Mainland Premier League with a 1-0 defeat to Toto African on Saturday.
He said shortly after the match that despite Simba fans having expressed anger at Kaseja following the team's 2-0 defeat to Morogoro's Mtibwa Sugar in the previous match played at the Jamhuri Stadium last week, he still believes Kaseja is the best keeper in the squad.
Kaseja was conspicuously missing in the Simba squad that played against Toto African and reserve goalkeeper, Wilbert Mweta, deputized for the Simba skipper and ultimately conceded the lone goal. "The (Simba) fans say Kaseja is not good but I believe he is good," said Cirkovic.
The Serbian coach was equally disappointed by missing the services of other dependable players, centre back, Juma Nyoso, and midfielder, Haruna Moshi, as the two players are serving a variety of punishments from the team's leadership. Nyoso has been omitted from the first team as the centre back's performance is allegedly at an all time low and he has been ordered to train with the second string outfit in a bid to rediscover his form.
Moshi, an influential midfielder, has been suspended for what has been termed as disobedience to the leadership and both punishments came shortly after Simba had managed a 1-1 draw with Polisi Morogoro at the Jamhuri Stadium. Milovan was further vividly frustrated during the post match press conference as he lamented his side's failure to fully exploit opportunities in front of Toto goal despite launching plenty of attacks in either half.
"I'm sad that we have lost the match but today we were better than in the past two matches," he said. Simba were generally not at their best in the Saturday match but they still managed to carve out a series of close chances only to be let down by inept finishing.
The Msimbazi Street side, led by Ugandan striker, Emmanuel Okwi, was twice denied by the post in either half and had even found the back of the net through Zambian striker, Felix Sunzu, midway through the first half but the goal was disallowed for off side. Simba, for that matter, have remained in the third position in the standing with the 23 points, whilst conceding their second defeat in the campaign.
Simba's archrivals, Yanga, who are at the top with 26 points, had an opportunity to widen the gap when they met Coastal Union at the latter's venue, Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga on Sunday. For Toto African, the unexpected win turned out to be a huge relief to the Mwanza-based side, which had endured an embarrassing spell in the previous matches to consequently languish in lower positions in the league standing.
Totos' assistant coach, Athuman Bilal, was a delighted man after the match, saying his team's determination paid off and adding that he was looking into building on the success and help the side crawl out of the relegation trap. Toto, who have consequently garnered their second win in the campaign, are now in the 12th position with 11 points from 11 games, having lost five matches and managed draw in the rest.