SIMBA coach Patrick Liewig has admitted that he is concerned about the fitness of his teams' players while they gears up for a Mapinduzi Cup semifinal clash against Azam at the Amaan Stadium here on Wednesday.
He said this was his first point to improve ahead of the second round of the Mainland Premier League and CAF Champions League. Liewig said his players overall fitness level wasn't 100 per cent especially when they faced Kenya champions Tusker in the same tournament on Friday, in which the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw.
However, the Frenchman was still proud of his players. "I am proud of my players, but I need to make them aware that match-fitness is an important element in game. We lose too much possession because players are not fit enough." "I know height could be another disadvantage to us because most of our players are short.
It is too dangerous when you play against a team of tall players that bombards long balls and play much more direct football," he said. He said, the first point to improve ahead of the second round of the Mainland Premier League and CAF Champions League will be fitness and he was planning to utilize the team's training camp in Oman to rectify the shortcoming.
He said the players have to develop a strict regimen and discipline which will help raise their standard. Simba will today play holders Azam FC, who fought to a barren draw with Mtibwa Sugar at the same venue on Monday night.
The 'Msimbazi Reds' will be forced to deploy its second string side because most of the senior players will be making a trip to Oman on Wednesday, while others will be departing with the national soccer team Taifa Stars to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a friendly match against the African Cup of Nations bound side.
Simba will also have to wait for few days before Juma Kaseja, Mrisho Ngassa, Nassor Masoud 'Cholo' Shomar Kapombe, Amir Maftah, Amri Kiemba and Mwinyi Kazimoto join them in Oman. The six players will leave today with the Taifa Stars to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The club's Vice-Chairman, Geoffrey Nyange 'Kaburu' said yesterday that only 14 players will leave for Oman today, naming some of the players who will be left behind to continue with the Mapinduzi Cup campaigns as Edward Christopher, Ramadhani Singano, Haruni Sagha, Wilberth Mweta, Hassan Hatibu and Jonas Mkude.
The tean will be under Jamhuri Kihwelo 'Julio'. Nyange said they had to split the team into two because the Zanzibar Football Association (ZFA) requested them (Simba) to continue honouring the tournament.