MAINLAND Champions Simba will be out to close gap with league leaders Young Africans, when they take on JKT Oljoro at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Kaluta Stadium in Arusha on Saturday.
Simba camp in Arusha will breathe a sigh of relief after two key players -- attacking midfielder, Haruna Moshi 'Boban' and wing wizard Mrisho Ngassa joined the rest yesterday morning.
The two were held back in Dar es Salaam by the club leadership to respond to allegations of indiscipline levelled against them by French coach, Patrick Liewig. This left the Msimbazi Street side with a depleted squad for a tricky league fixture.
But report within the club confirmed that the issue has now been resolved and the players have been cleared to join the camp ready for the match billed to be tough this evening. However, Simba will be without their key striker, Zambian Felix Sunzu, who is still nursing injury.
Sunzu's absence is a huge blow for the holders who are vying to close a six-point gap with their biggest rivals Yanga. Simba are already without highly-rated Edward Christopher who is still recovering from injury and Emmanuel Okwi who has joined Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.
Abdallah Juma remains the only recognized striker but the form of the former Mtibwa Sugar hitman has been a major concern among the Msimbazi Street faithful. Simba left on Thursday for Arusha ready for the tricky fixture and they know they cannot afford any further slip-up if they must keep their title retention hopes alive.
Patrick Liewig's side squandered an opportunity to close the gap on top two teams, Yanga and Azam FC respectively, when they were held to a 1-1 draw by JKT Ruvu at the National Stadium last Sunday. After 15 rounds, Yanga continue to stay on top of the league with 33 points, Azam second on 30 points, Simba take third spot with 27 points while Coastal Union find themselves fourth following their goal-less draw against Tanzania Prisons.
In total, four matches will be on the card today. Apart from Simba versus JKT Oljoro clash, the day will also see Kagera Sugar taking on Mgambo Shooting of Tanga at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba. The match will be officiated by referee Amon Paul from Mara.
Toto Africans of Mwanza will play host to high flying Coastal Union of Tanga at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, the match to be officiated by Simon Mberwa from Coast Region. Mbeya's Tanzania Prisons will have a date with African Lyon at the Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya.
Isles coach will be on the touchline for the first time after taking the African Lyon's coaching job this week. The match between Mtibwa Sugar of Morogoro and second placed Azam FC that was to be played today at the Manungu ground in Turiani, Morogoro has been postponed to Sunday.