SIMBA were back to their predatory best h itting 4-1 past Mbabane Swallows of Eswatini, in th e CAF Champions League, preliminary round, first leg at th e National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Skipper, John Bocco scored a brace, while striker, Meddie Kagere and midfield maestro Clatous Chama scored a goal apiece as Simba cruised to a comfortable first leg victory. Mbabane Swallows only goal was netted by Guevane Nzambe.
Simba managed to hit the ground running to signal their positive return to the continental top tier club championship, which they missed for almost five years.
Displaying slick football game, Simba ought to have scored more goals but missed a number of scoring opportunities. Going into the return leg encounter in a week's time, Simba will just need a draw of any kind to progress into the first round of the tournament.
The victory was a perfect gift to the club's shareholder, Mohamed Dewji 'MO', who appeared in the Stadium to support his side for the first time since the incident of his kidnapping.
The game did not take a while to heat up and in the space of a few minutes, one brilliant play by Simba got things going.
Sublime skills from Chama in the midfield, where he combined well with Jonas Mkude and James Kotei, left the visitors chasing shadows in the early opening exchanges.
And just seven minutes into the game, Simba took a deserved lead when Bocco produced a clever finish from Nicholas Gyan's pass. The Ghanaian teased a couple of Swallows defenders on the edge of the penalty area before setting up Bocco, whose spinning low shot went past goalkeeper, Sandanezwe Mathabela.
It was brilliant pass by G yan and Simba celebrated with a huge roar. After the goal, Simba kept on pushing their opponents for more goals and in the 12th minute, they could have netted the second, when Chama dribbled past several defenders and put through G yan inside the box, but the latter's shot was deflected by a defender and flew inches off target.
Then, Kagere, Emmanuel Okwi, G yan and Bocco blew away clear cut chances and Simba were deservedly punished from their ineptness, when the visitors pulled level in the 24th minute.
It resulted from a corner kick and Simba failed to clear their lines following a goal mouth melee and Nzambe long range shot outside the area beat keeper Aishi Manula.
It took seven minutes for Simba to restore their lead through spot kick well converted by Bocco. Referee, Pacifique Ndabihawenimana from Burundi pointed to the spot after goal bound Okwi was brought down by goalkeeper.
The goal motivated Simba and they almost netted the third four minutes before the interval but Okwi surprisingly wasted a good chance. Another chance went begging in the 44th minute, when Chama danced in a crowded area with a couple of Swallows defenders inside the box before releasing an arrowing low shot which was pushed away by goalkeeper for an abortive corner kick.
After the break, Simba introduced Shiza Kichuya for Okwi, who missed his usual killer instincts and rhythm. Kichuya reignited Aussems' side as they scored twice in the last seven minutes.
First it was predator Kagere, who notched the third in the 83 rd minute from nothing but pure poaching instincts. He capitalised on Swallows goalkeeper blunder who took a tumble as he attempted to clear a back pass and the striker easily poked the ball and slotted in an empty net.
Kagere nearly grabbed a brace with three minutes to go but his header was denied hitting the top post with goalkeeper well beaten.
There was still time for the fourth goal, after Hassan Dilunga, who was introduced for Bocco to reinforce the midfield dribbled past several players before he released a defence splitting pass that found Chama in space, and the skillful midfielder turned around a defender and squeezed a low shot past the keeper.