11 January 2013

Tanzania: Kihwelo Blasts 'Naive' Refs As Simba Tumble

Zanzibar — FURIOUS Mainland Premier League champions, Simba's Assistant Coach, Jamhuri Kihwelu hit out at referee after watching his team concede 4-5 in post match penalty shootouts to Azam FC in the semi-final clash of the Mapinduzi Cup here on Wednesday.

The teams finished 2-2 at the extra-time and the match had to be decided by penalties. Kihwelo alias 'Julio' couldn't contain his furry afterwards and blasted the match referee and his assistants for their performance. In fact, he attributed their exit to poor officiating.

He said all important decisions went against his side. "The referee influenced the game in completely the wrong way, in my opinion," Kihwelu said after the match played at the Amaan Stadium here. "We deserved to win the game during the 120 minutes.

Our youthful side dominated and applied pressure against our opponents but bad referee decision frequently killed our movements," complained Kihwelo. Kihwelu said despite the loss, he was impressed by the performance of his players.

He counselled to remain focused in their career which, he said was a key component for young players to play at professional level, especially in Europe. However, poor officiating claims were also shared by Azam's Assistant coach, Kalimangonga Ongala, who said the rules of the game were not observed by the officials.

Azam have now qualified for the finals and will play the winner of the second semi-final match pitting Kenyan champions and Zanzibar kings Miembeni slated for later yesterday. Notwithstanding Julio's sense of grievance, Simba should have put the game to bed long before the shootouts.

They dominated the second half in which they drew level through Rashid Ismail, after going down in the first half through Kenyan Humphrey Mieno's goal. The two teams were tied 1-1 by the end of regulation time forcing extra time with Simba again taking an early lead in the first period of the extra time, through Miraj Madenge.

However, on the final minute of extra time, Azam were awarded a penalty that was heavily contested by the Simba players leading to temporary stoppage of the match but when tranquility resumed, former Tusker FC defender Joackins Atudo who joined the team late last year stepped up and scored the equalizer to push the match to penalties Azam scored all the five penalties while Simba missed one that hit the upright to drop out of the competition that commemorates Zanzibar's independence.

Simba left their Team "B" in Zanzibar to take on Azam, as the senior players headed to Oman. The remaining players are scheduled to travel and join the rest of the team any time from now. Simba will be in Oman under the invitation of local club Fanja FC and while in Oman, they will be supported by three additional coaches led by former Simba player Talib Hilal.

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