21 September 2017

Tanzania: Simba Out to Reclaim Top Spot

SIMBA are likely to reclaim the pilot seat, as they face Mbao FC in a tricky Mainland Premier League fixture at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza this evening.

A win for Simba will see them post ten points to leapfrog Mtibwa Sugar, who enjoy the driver's seat on maximum nine points from three matches.

Simba are currently placed second on the log on seven points from three matches, while Mbao FC are tenth on the league table on three points from three matches.

Simba have kicked off the 2017/18 league season in higher note having scored a total of 10 goals after recording two victories and a draw. They will be looking at maintaining their form when battle for the three points against Mbao.

This will be the first away game from Dar es Salaam for Simba since the opening of the new season. The Msimbazi Reds played all their three games in Dar es Salaam, which saw them recording a resounding 7-0 victory over Ruvu Shooting, before being held to a barren draw by Azam FC and the last weekend's 3-0 over Mwadui FC.

However, against Mbao, it will be a huge challenge for Simba's Head Coach Cameroonian, Joseph Omog, who for the past few days has been on firing lines.

Rumours first flew in from old guards about the future of their tactician but the club's loquacious spokesman, Haji Manara, was quick to dispel the rumours, terming them nothing more than the work of quack soccer analysts, who have never even touched the ball in their lives, let alone seen the inside of a soccer training institute.

It was immediately after the barren draw against the ice cream makers on September 9th at the Chamazi Complex that Dar es Salaam's rumourville was set in motion, forcing Manara to come out firing on in all cylinders.

Things quickly settled down after a win against Mwadui but definitely, basing on the tradition of Simba and their rivals Young Africans, anything could resurface depending on the match results and this is why, it will be crucial for Omog to lead his charges to victory today.

The tactician will bank his hopes on free scoring striker, Ugandan Emmanuel Okwi, who has so far netted six goals from two matches he has featured for Simba this season.

Lanky striker John Bocco, who netted his first goal for his new club in a win against Mwadui last Sunday, will be targeting to impress the technical bench, so he could be an automatic choice in the starting line up ahead of Laudit Mavugo and Mohamed Ibrahim.

Ghanaian striker Nicholas Gyan will as well be battling to score his first goal since joining the club after failing to do in the game against Azam FC and Mwadui despite proving his capability.

Simba will also be boosted with the return of their maestro midfielder Haruna Niyonzima, who missed the previous game due to injury picked during Azam game.

Going into the fixture, Mbao Head Coach, Etienne Ndairagije assured the team's supporters good results. Ndairagije, whose team played all three games in away venues, said their first home game will be historic as he hopes to stain Simba's clean-sheet as well as the unbeaten run.

He said last season Simba were lucky to survive his team's 2-0 lead scare and end 3-2 victors at the same venue, but it won't be the same this year. He said his team is well prepared tactically and psychologically for the match.

"My team is improving and we have managed to score a goal in all our matches we have played so far. We are having a new team but now I'm working very hard in order our players to get enough experience" He said.

Mbao opened the season with a win over Kagera Sugar before losing two matches against Singida United and Mtibwa Sugar.

They have netted three goals and conceded four goals. Simba and Mbao have met three times since the Mwanza side was promoted to the top flight league last season and Simba have won all the three matches.

Simba beat Mbao 2-1 to clinch the Federation Cup in a thrilling and nail biting final held at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma. In the two league games, Simba won 1-0 in Dar es Salaam and 3-2 away in Mwanza.

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