ZANZIBAR: MLANDEGE FC Coach Ramadhan Khamis is optimistic that they have a great chance of retaining the Mapinduzi Cup title.
Coach Khamis took the stance on Tuesday night after the first semi-finals of the Mapinduzi Cup at the New Amaan Complex against Rwanda’s APR ended in a barren draw, forcing the winner to be decided by penalties, where the hosts won 4-2, to sail into their second consecutive finals.
The tournament defending champion coach praised his side’s performance against APR, in a match that he described as unpredictable and tough as their opponents were a good side and determined for a positive result.
“The game was tough, APR players were good but my team stood firm and contained their opponents’ pressure that’s why we won the match,” he explained.
Speaking ahead of the finals which are scheduled to take place this weekend on January 13th, Coach Khamis said they are ready to face any side between Simba and Singida FG yesterday night’s battle for the second ticket of the finals.
On his part, APR Assistant Coach, Aime Ndizeye expressed his disappointment after the game, saying they were not happy with the refereeing decisions that he said denied his side victory after their two goals were controversially disallowed.
He charged that they played a good game and they deserved to win.
“We played better than our opponents; that was clear and we deserved to win the match but the match officials decided against us with their poor decisions,” he lamented.
Ndizeye disclosed that the poor officiating discourages them and they might not participate in the coming tournament if such habit continues as instead of developing and promoting the sport it declines it.
“If the match officials keep making the wrong decisions, we are likely not going to participate in this tournament again because such things are not good for the growth of our football,” he explained.
Speaking about the game Mlandege FC player, Abdallah Said unveiled that the match was tough but only luck was on their side and they are grateful to go into the final.
“The match was tough, APR is a good team but lucky we have won the match, we believe we will be defending our title so we are ready for any team either Simba or Singida Fountain Gate,” he said.
The 2023 Mapinduzi Cup final will be staged on Saturday, January 13 whereby the winner will take home 100m/- and the first runner-up will earn 70m/- to mark the end of the 60 years of the Zanzibar Revolution anniversary.