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Whiff of CAF final hits Simba

DESPITE losing 1-0 to Egypt’s Al Ahly on Friday night, Simba remain hopeful that they can reach as far as the final stage of CAF Champions League.

It was the first defeat for the country’s envoys in the group stage phase of the continent’s biggest club showpiece after playing a total of six matches.

Putting aside the fact that prior to the Egypt mission Simba had already qualified, the talking subject now is the level of success they have recorded in this season’s Champions League games.

Getting the better of big names of Africa football like Al Ahly, AS Vita and El-Merrikh is not a thing to be undervalued and this alone gives them energy to believe that they can achieve more in the contest.

The lyrics now is that the Msimbazi Street men have stood tall over the reigning champions Al Ahly after finishing the group stage campaign with 13 points against 11 points collected by the latter.

Initially, Simba’s target was to reach into the semifinals but as time goes, with the way the team is performing, they now believe that they can overflow to storm into the finals.

It was therefore not a surprising thing when the club’s Information Officer Haji Manara confidently narrated that their team has gained the required tempo to win the champions league silverware.

From a distant, this can be viewed as empty words but in accordance with the way Simba have performed in the last 16, of course, they can achieve that feat without doubt.

“You should not forget that after sometime, CAF Champions League produces a surprise winner and this year, I am confident that Simba are better placed to win,” Manara said.

However, after the tense battle, some Simba players took it to their Instagram pages to express their feelings with Clatous Chama writing: “We had a good game yesterday against the toughest opponents on the continent.

“See you in the quarters because the drama has just started.” His sentiments accompanied a photo of him in action trying to get through two Al Ahly players.

Chama scored a brace during their last home match against AS Vita which saw them bagging crucial three points courtesy of a 4-1 victory an outcome which dented Vita’s dreams of reaching in the quarterfinals.

In Cairo Al Ahly head coach, Pitso Mosimane, said after his team’s slim 1-0 win over Simba that they must start focusing on their upcoming matches which include the Cairo Derby against Zamalek.

Despite already knowing their group ranking prior to the game, Motsimane said Al Ahly were looking to avenge their defeat against Simba in Tanzania.

With that win Al Ahly extended their unbeaten home run in the Champions League to 32 games, with their last defeat coming back in June 2016 against ASEC Mimosas.

Mosimane was happy with the result but is more concerned about their upcoming games, whether in the league or the Champions League.

“We are happy to have beaten Simba. We controlled the rhythm of the game despite them coming back in the last 10 minutes of the match,” he said in the post-match press conference.

“We have a very intense schedule and have a lot of strong matches, most notably against Zamalek, which requires us to prepare the players properly.

We played some substitutes today, which explains the slight decline in our performance. “The seasons are intertwined, and there is no time for the players to rest.

Normally we should have a five-week break between each season, even cars need rest for the necessary maintenance.

“The atmosphere in Tanzania when we faced Simba was very difficult. The temperature was very high and there were thousands of fans despite the coronavirus, but that’s football,” he added.

Following the victory, Al Ahly finished the group stages in second place with 11 points, two behind leaders Simba SC, while Vita Club came third with seven points followed by bottom-placed Al Merrikh, who collected just two points.

They will probably be drawn with one of the following teams in the quarter-finals: Mamelodi Sundowns, Wydad Casablanca or Esperance Sportive de Tunis.

BENJAMIN Mkapa Stadium once again grabs the ...

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Author: SUNDAY NEWS reporter

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