SIMBA SC Head Coach, Sven Vandenbroeck gave a big compliment to his players, following their slim but crucial 1-0 triumph over Kagera Sugar at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
Striker Meddie Kagere scored his 13th goal of the season via a spot kick, which was awarded to them after skipper John Bocco was bundled down inside the penalty box by Kagera Sugar goalkeeper Benedict Tinoco.
The defending champions have an opportunity to reap 62 points as they welcome Biashara United on Saturday at the same venue in the city with the sight of the season's Mainland Premier League title within their reach.
At a post-match briefing, V andenbroeck could not help but lauded the overall performance from his charges in three back to back games of which, they have garnered essential nine points.
"Let me give big compliment to my players for the great input they have been putting in the three past matches. The performance shown is our standard and let's keep it that way until the end of the season," he said.
He however, complained that many decisions throughout the game was against his side but called on his players to continue fighting hard for crucial points.
Simba versatile defender Erasto Nyoni said they utilised well directives from their coach, which later gave them tangible results.
"As players, we always encourage one another to work hard during matches and that is another positive thing, which is giving us deserved outcomes," Nyoni said.
On his part, Kagera Sugar Head Coach, Mecky Mexime admitted that it was a bad day for them as they failed to dominate their opponents.
"They (Simba) had a chance to score more goals because they were better but we did well to defend and avoid conceding by a bigger margin," he said.
He added that in football, sometimes players fail to execute well what they did during training sessions prior to the game, but all in all, he said it was simply not their day, while praising Simba for the good performance.
Commenting on the game, Kagera Sugar midfielder Awesu Awesu, who was introduced midway into the second half and helped a lot to change rhythm of his team especially in the midfield battle, said he has hopes to play professional football outside the country.
"It was a tough game and we wanted to defeat them at their own turf like the way they did to us in the first round but they were too strong to bend," he said.
Moreover, Awesu applauded Simba for their great football performance on the day, saying they have professional players who are capable to win games.
"We just want to look up and aim to get maximum three points in other upcoming matches because the league is still on," said he.
Also, Juma Nyoso who had a perfect defensive performance for his Kagera Sugar conceded the defeat, insisting that Simba were good in midfield.
However, asked why he always put in much effort when playing against big teams, Nyoso brushed aside such claims, saying whenever he is fully fit, his performance becomes incredible without considering, who they are facing.
Kagera Sugar goalie Tinoco admitted that he fouled Bocco in the penalty box, which led the referee to point on the spot.
He however, said both teams respected each other that is why the game was tough but was quick to point out that he feels comfortable playing against big teams calling such games as easy on the field and difficult off the field since supporters always talk a lot.
Meanwhile, Azam FC have continued to lose ground in Mainland Premier League title race after being held to a 1-1 draw by hosts Ndanda at the Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium in Mtwara on Wednesday.
Azam had to wait until in the 75th minute to score an equaliser through Andrew Simchimba, who tapped home Richard Djodi's low cross after Vitalis Mayanga had put Ndanda ahead in the 27th minute with a powerful header off a Kigi Makasi's cross.
Despite the defeat, Azam remained second on the log with 45 points from 23 outings and they sit 14 points off the pace behind leaders Simba.
On the other hand, Ndanda moved up one position 14th on 23 points from 23 matches, while Mtibwa Sugar who are on the same points dropped 15th on inferior goal difference.