SIMBA fought gallantly to reclaim the pilot seat following a hard earned 1-0 victory over Mbeya City at Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya yesterday. Simba regained the seat after the 20-hour rotational reign of their rivals Young Africans and Azam FC. Prior to the yesterday clash, Young Africans had reclaimed it after posting 17 points following their barren draw with Singida United at Namfua Stadium.
It was, however, a short-lived reign as it lasted only three hours when Azam dispossessed them following their last minute 1-0 victory over Ruvu Shooting at Chamazi Complex .
Azam's reign lasted only 20 hours as Simba reclaimed it in their yesterday's win over Mbeya. Simba, though tie on points with Azam, superior goals count once again heightened them above their pursuers.
It is clear that seven-goal win over Ruvu Shooting, four more against Njombe Mji which came after 3-0 victory over Stand United, will keep making Simba above their rivals many rounds to come.
Before the full packed Stadium, Simba looked favourite to win the game right from start and it took them just seven minutes to score through Shiza Kichuya, whose goal was both the opener and eventually the winner of the fiercely fought encounter.
The game, however, started on high foot as each side was eager to get an early opener before the half time, with much actions as anticipated being seen at the middle of terrain where the home side controlled a large portion.
Simba, who made slight changes to the squad which drew 1-1 with traditional rivals Young Africans last week at Uhuru Stadium, could not wait for a long time before finding the goal which came from left winger Shiza Kichuya in the 7th minute of the first half. He utilised well the final pass from Jonas Mkude to send the ball far away from Mbeya City goalkeeper, Fikirini Bakari.
Simba coach Joseph Omog opted to use John Bocco who captained the Reds for the first time this season and Emmanuel Okwi as striking partners and the idea worked well and troubled much the hosts' backline marshaled by Mkandawire. It was a must win game for the Msimbazi Street boys as short of it they would see Azam dictate terms at the helm.
Simba's overlapping defender Erasto Nyoni missed probably the best chance in the 47th minute of the first half as he missed a one-to-one final touch with City custodian Bakari, but his ground strike went a few inches off target. As the whistle to end the opening half blows, Simba went into the dressing room leading by a single goal.
On resumption, Mbeya City came a rejuvenated side as they started to create lots of scoring chances in a bid to level the matter, but Simba's defence governed by Asihi Manula, Juuko Murshid and Jonas Mkude stood firm to make sure no ball passes through them.
At Samora Stadium in Iringa, guests Mwadui forced the hosts Lipuli to a 1-1 draw in closely contested encounter.
While Simba are firm at the pilot seat, Ruvu Shooting who lost to Azam, continued to crawl at the bottom of the table with five points while slight above them are Ndanda FC who have also carved five points only better goal average put them there.
Until yesterday Emanuel Okwi of Simba is leading the chase for the golden boot with nine goals, followed by Issa Rashid of Tanzania Prisons with 6 goals while Ibrahim Ajib and Shiza Kichuya are third with 5 goals each.