HE is finally here. French coach, Patrick Liewig jetted in Dar es Salaam, ready to assume coaching role at Mainland Premier League giants Simba SC.
Several Simba fans turned up at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam to welcome their new coach. The 62-year old Frenchman arrival remained a 'big puzzle' after he failed to show up in two occasions as promised by the club leadership last week.
The French coach was initially set to arrive in Dar es Salaam on Thursday last week but he failed to get flight ticket, according to the club official.
Then the club leadership promised that he would be joining the team at the National Stadium to witness an international friendly match against Kenya's Tusker FC on Saturday but he was no where to be seen.
This time it was real, the Frenchman has arrived and promised, if he agrees terms with the club he will work hard to transform the club to a continental winning outfit.
Liewig who was received at the airport shortly after arrival by the club Secretary General, Evodius Mtawala, told reporters that he was a bit late to take up the new job but he will utilize fully the team's planned trip to Oman to prepare the last round of the top flight league as well as for the Champions league assignments.
"I'm happy to work for Simba. I know it is a great team with huge fan base across the country as well as in some part of the continent. I will team up with my colleagues to ensure that we build a strong team for the best results," he said. Simba are set to appoint Liewig, a former manager of the Paris Saint German Academy as their new coach.
Liewig has been earmarked by the Simba management as the outstanding candidate to replace Serbian Milovan Cirkovic, who guided the club to league glory last season. Cirkovic also won the Community Shield and Urafiki Cup.
Liewig will be assisted by Ugandan Mosses Basena, who is returning to the team's technical bench after just one year, while Jamhuri Kihwelo is the new team manager. Liewig coached Asec Mimosas of Cote D'Ivoire between 2004 and 2009, winning a couple of domestic cups and leading the club to the semi-finals of the African Champions League in 2009.
He was nominated along with the coach of the Egyptian national team and the coach of Al Ahly for the award of the best coach of Africa in 2006, the award won by Egypt coach Hassan Shehata, winner of the African Cup of Nations 2006. Liewig's first task will be to lead Simba in the Mapinduzi Cup which kick off tomorrow in Zanzibar.
Simba has been pooled along with Tusker FC of Kenya, who beat them 3-0 in a friendly match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday evening. The other teams in the Pool are Pemba Islands and Bandari. In Group B - Azam FC, Mtibwa Sugar, Coastal Union and Miembeni will square off.
The Mapinduzi Cup is a celebration to commemorate 49 years of Zanzibar's independence. The tournament will be officially opened by a mouth watering clash pitting Tusker FC and Simba SC at the Amman Stadium. Winners of the tournament will pocket 10m/-, while runners up gets 5m/-.