SIMBA face Mtibwa Sugar today knowing that maximum points from their next three games will secure the Mainland Premier League title.
It is a pivotal match for Simba, who must win to move back to the top of the table, heading into the final rounds of the season, as they currently trail Young Africans by a point.
The Msimbazi Street lads are placed second of the log with 82 points from 33 outings, one inferior to their traditional rivals Yanga with 83 points from 36 matches. A win today could see them (Simba) recapture the top spot, two points above Yanga.
However, pundits do not think it will be an easy evening for Simba against Mtibwa Sugar, who have always been tough against the top sides.
In fact, Mtibwa Sugar will play without pressure because they have nothing to lose in the match. The Morogoro lads need just two points from their remaining three matches, to stay clear of the relegation zone and are not in contention for the title.
Mtibwa Sugar are currently placed fifth of the log on 49 points from 35 matches. Zuberi Katwila charges recently inflicted a 1-0 win over Yanga at the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro, pegging them back in the race for the title.
Simba’s Belgian trainer Patrick Aussems clearly knows the road to the title defence is rough, with fatigue catching up with his players following playing a match after every two days. He also knows that it will not be easy against Mtibwa Sugar, who boosts a number of experienced and youthful players.
“It is going to be tough for the way they play. They do really well at what they do and my players will need to be careful. I know the players are tired and that is way they are now making mistakes but we are going to prepare to try to control their strong points,” he said.
“It is the end of the season, the last games are always tough and everyone feels the pressure to win. Our target is still the same --two victories on Thursday (today) and Sunday,” Aussems said.
Simba will come into the match after being deprived five points out of possible six in their past two consecutive league ties.
A 1-0 defeat from Kagera Sugar at the Uhuru Stadium last week and a scoreless draw against Azam at the same venue on Monday added pressure to the defending champions who have five games to play before ending the campaign.
However, Aussems said one point they got following a goalless draw against Azam on Monday was not bad at all for his side.
In the game, Azam sat on their territory to sponge Simba’s forays especially in the second half, as the Reds desperately attacked in numbers.
Today's match will be Simba's 34th of the season while Mtibwa Sugar who are equally eager to post a positive results, it will be their 36th outing.
After playing Mtibwa Sugar today, Simba will have two days to recover before confronting Mtwara’s Ndanda FC at the same venue.