GIANTS Simba SC will be looking to keep up their Kagame Cup Championship title hopes alive today by overcoming Zanzibar's JKU hurdle, to cruise into the final.
In today's semi-final clash at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Simba will have to underrate JKU at their own peril because the Zanzibar side proved most pundits wrong especially after dismissing Singida United in a quarterfinal match 4-3 on penalties last Monday.
Simba under Burundian tactician Masoud Juma secured the place into the semis after they edged AS Port from Djibouti 1-0 in the quarter-final clash at the same venue on Sunday.
The Msimbazi Reds side is eager to win record seventh title of the regional tournament. A win against JKU will see Simba booking their 12th final spot of the tournament.
Simba will bank their hopes on their in form strikers-- Meddie Kagere, Adam Salamba, Marcel Kaheza and Mohamed Rashid, who have been in the team's score sheet regularly since the kickoff of the tournament.
After restoring their lost glory in the Mainland Premier League, Simba are eager to do the same in the ongoing Kagame championship after missing the title for 16 years and victory over JKU will bring them closer to the seventh title.
However the task won't be easy just like a walk in the park for Simba, as JKU seem to be ambitious to book a place into their first ever final of the event.
The Zanzibar lads are looking forward to stun Simba, to achieve their goal. JKU showed Singida United an exit door in the quarterfinals after registering a 4-3 victory on penalties after a goalless draw in normal time, to deny the Singida region based side a place into the semis in their first appearance.
Going into the match, JKU Coach Hassan Ramadhan has hinted that Simba should not underrate them.
Speaking in a post-match interview, Ramadhan said he is aware that Simba is a big club with quality players but insisted that they should not take JKU for granted.
"We will have only one day to rest against two days of resting by our opponents but that is not a guarantee for them to register easy win over us," Ramadhan said. Adding, Ramadhan said he aims to win the championship that is why they have been able to progress deeper into the contest from the previous stages.
"The good thing about my team is that it changes according to the pace of the game as such the normal period of play will determine who progresses into the finals," he said.
His captain Issa Haidar Dau said they utilised well all the directives given to them prior to the match something he said gave them a chance to win.
"We had no pressure because most of us have experience in tricky games like the one we had today (Monday).
I respect Simba but we will play to compete and win," Dau said.
In his remarks, Singida United coach Hemed Morocco said despite being knocked out of the tournament, they have learned a lot of things which will help his team to do better in the Mainland Premier League next season.
"I am still building the team and competing in this year's edition of CECAFA Kagame Cup provided a good platform to asses my players.
I have identified weak and strong areas which will help us a lot to shine in the league next season," Morocco said.