Mgunda hails Baleke’s brilliance

SIMBA conquered tricky Highland Estate ground after pounding Ihefu 2-0 in a two-minute span to spoil their seven-undefeated home record in Mbarali on Monday.

Jean Baleke’s brace in the 84th and 86th minutes brought excitement, leaving Simba’s Assistant Coach Juma Mgunda showering praise and labelling him a bull striker.

“Jean Baleke is indeed an excellent striker and his task is only to bring excitement and anger to the opposite side’s fans.”

Baleke broke the deadlock in the 84th minute by utilising an excellent assist from Pape Ousmane Sakho, who received a set piece from Israel Mwenda from the right flank.

In a difference of two minutes, Baleke sealed Simba’s win with a powerful bicycle kick after his first head attempt to complete Kibu Dennis’s cross hit woodwork.

The goal delighted Simba’s fans, who celebrated their victory and sealed maximum points.

Following the victory, Simba have now  lodged 60 points, remaining second behind their traditional rivals Young Africans, who lead with 65 points and one match advantage against Kagera Sugar, who play today at Azam Complex, Chamazi.

Simba’s next task is to face the leaders, Young Africans, who set the stage this Sunday.

It has been a most memorable week for Baleke. On Friday, he starred with a hat-trick when they destroyed Ihefu 5-1 in the Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) quarter-final match at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam.

On yesterday’s encounter, Simba paraded at Highlands Estates with several changes, benching most key players, including Clatous Chama, Saidi Ntibazonkiza, Mohamed Hussein and Sadio Kanouté.

Other players who missed the service are; Aishi Manula, Henock Inonga and Shomari Kapombe, all three facing injuries.

Players who took their places included Ally Salim, Israel Mwenda, Gadiel Michael, Kennedy Juma, Ismael Sawadogo and Habib Kyombo. Sawadogo, who has not been on the pitch for a while now, was substituted in the 25th minute by Nassoro Kapama.

Ihefu used wingers as their strength, hitting many crosses but did not harm Simba, as goalkeeper Ally Salim and his solid defence line did an excellent job of preventing harm.

Yacouba Songne, Obrey Chirwa and Nicholas Wadada had been a thorn in Simba’s defence line as they attempted to break through Simba’s line of defence repeatedly, but their efforts did not bore fruits.

Simba had a hard job opening Ihefu’s defence in the first 45 minutes of the game. After that, however, Ihefu’s defenders played solid to avoid repeating the same mistakes that happened on Friday.

It forced Simba to set plans for long-range shots through Jean Baleke in the 15th and 32nd minutes and Pape Ousmane Sakho in the 19th minute.

All three attempts looked dangerous and would have banked Simba an opener, but Ihefu goalkeeper Bakary Fikirini stood firm to stop the attempts.

Simba maintained their efforts to break the deadlock, which bore fruits in the 84th and 86th minutes through Baleke. The two goals brought excitement as they sealed Simba’s victory to bag maximum points and bridge the gap between their traditional rivals.

The two sides last met in the league game on September 6th at Benjamin Mkapa stadium, where Simba won 2-1.

Ihefu FC had not registered any defeat at home since November 20th.

They have banked six wins and a draw in the last seven home games.

It has been a challenging venue for big clubs in the country, like Azam and Young Africans, where they all lost.

On November 29th, Young Africans lost 2-1 before Azam lost 1-0 last month.

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