SIMBA proved to have a deep squad as evidenced through their 3-1 victory over Zimamoto of Zanzibar at Amaan Stadium yesterday.
Simba fielded almost a completely new squad benching most of the players who featured in their Dar es Salaam derby against their traditional rivals; Young Africans on January 4th at the national stadium.
Following the victory, Simba have now set a date with Azam FC in the semifinal stage of this year’s Mapinduzi Cup. Azam sailed to semis after beating Mlandege 1-0 at Gombani Stadium in Pemba.
In yesterday’s group B match at Gombani Stadium in Pemba, Simba introduced for the first time their newly-signed attacking midfielder Luis Miquissone from UD Songo, who played for ten minutes replacing Hassan Dilunga.
Simba opened their goal account early in the 4th minute through their skipper John Bocco after he was set through inside the box by Ibrahim Ajib.
Bocco easily fired home the ball. Simba’s Sharaf Shiboub doubled his team’s lead, scoring from a rebound a few minutes later.
The rebound came after Kennedy Juma header hit Zimamoto defender Amour and met Shiboub whose shot deflected a defender before sailing into the back of the net.
Despite being two goals down, Zimamoto calmed down and began raiding Simba goal.
Their efforts paid off in the 28th minute when Ibrahim Ahmad Hilika outmanouvred Erasto Nyoni inside the box to score a consolation goal from Vuai Hamisi’s long pass.
It took Simba just nine minutes to score their third goal though Ibrahim Ajib.
The highly skilled player rounded a defender at the edge of the box and released a curling shot past Zimamoto goalkeeper.
Azam who are the tournament defending champions eliminated Mlandenge SC in group A match after a 1-0 victory.
Obrey Chirwa scored the winner for Azam to set a date with Simba on either January 9th or 10th at the Amaan Stadium in Unguja.
Meanwhile, the management of Azam FC said they want to continue dominating the ongoing 2020 Mapinduzi Cup unfolding in Zanzibar by winning the title three times in row reports BENJAMIN BEN.
Obrey Chirwa scored the only goal for the defending champions in the 57th minute as Azam defeated Mlandege FC in a closely fought match at Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar on Monday night.
In another match, Mtibwa Sugar defeated Chipukizi FC 4-2 on post-match penalties after the two sides ended the normal period of play with a stalemate of 1-1.
The shootouts were then needed to separate the two teams, which led to the exit of the Zanzibar representatives and a chance for Mtibwa Sugar to shine in the semifinals pack.
The victory gave the ‘ice cream makers’ a slot into the semifinals of the tournament which has attracted eight teams, four from the Tanzania Mainland while the other four teams are from Zanzibar.
Azam will be eyeing to claim the championship knowing that they only have one match before stepping into the finals thanks to a simplified mode of play governing this year's Mapinduzi Cup, whereby once you lose, then you pack your belongings and return home.
It was an end for Mlandege FC, who put it all on the field to snatch a good results from their opponents but, with the knockout procedure of this year's competition, there was no chance for them (Mlandege) to remain in the contest.
Speaking on behalf of the technical bench, the team's Communication Officer Jaffar Idd said the triumph was a signal that they want to defend the championship at the end of the title race.
“It was a difficult game, we played with intensity throughout the match in order to win the game and that was well executed. The fighting spirit among the players was very high which enabled a lot for us to win the battle,” he said.
In his remarks, Mtibwa Sugar Head Coach Zuberi Katwila lauded his players for the perfect performance, saying they want to reach as far as finals and win the title in the end.
“We are all happy to start the campaign with the victory and now, we just need to wake up for other upcoming games, which is the only assurance for us to reach further in the competition,” he said.
However, most pundits in the country have spoken in favour of the knockout system being run at the tournament saying it will make teams not to feature weak squads since a defeat simply means the end of the road.