12 February 2013

Tanzania: Simba Set Sights On Libolo Tie

PREMIER League champions Simba have attempted to clear the air by claiming all is well with the club and have their sights firmly focused on their forthcoming CAF Champions League clash against Recreativo de Libolo of Angola.

Simba are set to host the Angolan champions Sporting Libolo for the first leg match in the preliminary round of the continental premium club championship [on the backdrop of a stuttering domestic form, which has led to tension among members and supporters of the club.

Rumours have had it that tension between the team's head coach Patrick Liewig and some of his senior players have arisen in recent weeks, with the Frenchman said to have reported winger Mrisho Ngassa and playmaker Haruna Moshi to the club management allegedly for indiscipline.

However, speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Simba's spokesperson categorically denied any rift between Liewig and his players. "We would like to inform our fans and supporters that the condition of the team is very calm.

No player has been banned or suspended and there is no rift between the players and coach or the players and management," Kamwaga said. Kamwaga, meanwhile, refuted claims that Simba players and the coaching staff were either beaten up or harassed by irate supporters following their 1-1 draw with JKT Oljoro at Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium last Saturday.

"For those who were at the Stadium would witness that some of the Simba players were carried shoulders high by the fans and Mrisho Ngassa was given 10,000/- by one supporter for his display during the game," claimed Kamwaga.

"The fans accepted the 1-1 result was part of the game and rift claims are false and things are exaggerated for unknown reasons," the Simba spokesperson added. The Msimbazi Street-based outfit have experienced a disastrous title defence, following back to back draws against JTK Ruvu and JKT Oljoro in their previous two league outings.

They currently sit six points behind both Yanga and second-placed Azam FC. Kamwaga urged Simba fans to remain calm and unite behind their team as they prepare for the crucial Champions League assignment against Recreativo de Libolo.

Meanwhile, Simba have reunited with their former coach Talib Hilal in an attempt to try and pep up the team's technical bench that currently boasts French tactician Liewig, assistant coach Jamhuri Kihwelo and team manager, Moses Basena from Uganda.

Kamwaga said the arrival of the former Simba defender, who is based in Oman, will not affect the position of those in the technical bench, insisting that Talib is just trying to help out owing to his love for the club. "We're all grateful to have him here.

He's bringing with him his vast coaching experience and motivation," the Simba official stated. Kamwaga also confirmed that left back Paul Ngalema has been ruled out of the Libolo tie after sustaining knee injury during Saturday's game against JKT Oljoro. Simba are expected back in Dar es Salaam from Arusha today to fine tune for Sunday's showdown at the National Stadium.

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