SIMBA Head Coach Patrick Aussems is sweating with shrinking striking depth in his squad, with duo John Bocco and Wilker Da Silva out injured.
Aussems is left with only Meddie Kagere as a recognised striker, heading to their Sunday’s CAF Champions League preliminary round, second leg encounter against Mozambique’s UD Songo at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Creative attacker Ibrahim Ajib, who can as well be deployed as a second striker, is still recovering from injuries.
Brazilian striker Wilker Da Silva picked an injury during the team’s pre-season tour of South Africa and has yet to feature for his new club in any competitive game.
It suggests, Simba are already missing deadly Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi, who is not in the squad this season. Okwi together with Kagere and Bocco made a fearsome trio last season, scoring a combined 54 league goals.
Okwi has since left the club for Egyptian side, Al Ittihad Alexandria, while Adam Salamba, who was the fourth striker in pecking order, has been loaned to the newly promoted Mainland Premier League side Namungo FC of Lindi.
Against UD Songo, Simba will now be forced to heavily depend on midfielders for striking role, in which Hassan Dilunga or Zambian Clatous Chama are perfectly fit.
Reacting to this mini crisis, Aussems said yesterday that a need of an addition striker is vital as currently, they do not have enough strikers in their squad compared to the task ahead.
“It became difficult for us after Bocco (John) picked a knock during the Community Shield match against Azam FC… we have rem a i n e d w i t h o n l y Kagere (Meddie) as a recognised striker,” he said.
Simba beat Azam 4-2 to lift the Shield in a thrilling match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Saturday.
The Belgian tactician said that he has already notified the club leadership that he needs one more striker as the current situation puts the team in great pressure. “It puts us under lots of pressure and we need to be careful to ensure that Kagere and Bocco are always fit.
We don’t have enough strikers and if anything happens to Kagere, we will have no striker left and that will be a big problem,” lamented Aussems.
Coach Aussems said that the team will obviously need to change their formation as they did during the game against Azam after Bocco limped off the pitch with a knee injury.
In another development, it is reported that Simba’s first choice goalkeeper Aishi Manula is back in the squad, providing a major boost for the team ahead of their Sunday’s Champion League game against UD Songo.
Manula, Ajib and Wilker missed the first leg which was held in Beira, Mozambique and ended in a barren draw.
It was somewhat an advantage for the Msimbazi Street lads, who will now need a victory of any kind or avoid a draw involving goals in the return leg, for them to sail through into the first round of the continental top tier club championship.
And, in run up to the match, Manara called for Simba supporters to flock the 60,000-seat venue, packing it to the brim and back their team to the top of their voices from the kick off to the end.
The club’s Head of Information and Communication, Haji Manara said for Simba, their supporters are not only the 12th player but they are the stars, who have been playing a vital role in the team’s victories.