SIMBA players and management have been urged to take inspiration from the newly introduced annual MO Simba Awards and take the club to the highest level of football in Africa.
The call was made on Monday night in Dar es Salaam by the country’s business tycoon and the club’s investor, Mohamed Dewji alias ‘MO’ during the awards night presentation at the Hyatt Regency, Kilimanjaro.
Dewji, who owns 49 per cent shares of the club, is the mastermind of the annual awards, which aim at recognising the good work done by various people at the club. He is eager to see one of the giant clubs in Tanzania and East Africa reaches the top level in terms of performance and management.
The awards night was graced by special guest -- the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, while Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Hamisi Kigwangalla was the guest of honour. Others in presence were Members of Parliament, diplomats, celebrities and club supporters. Skipper John Bocco scooped two awards-- the Best Player of the Year and Goal of the Year.
Bocco won the Best Player of the Year accolade ahead of fellow talisman Emmanuel Okwi and Shiza Kichuya, while his goal against Mwadui FC won him the recognition of the goal of the year over Okwi’s goal against Ndanda FC in the just ended Mainland Premier League. Retired President Mwinyi presented the Lifetime Achievement award to former skipper of the club Selemani Matola, currently coaching Iringa’s topflight side Lipuli FC.
The awards which had 16 categories saw the Best Goalkeeper award going to first choice goalie Aishi Manula, who featured in most of the league games and CAF Confederation Cup matches. Veteran defender, Erasto Nyoni won the Best Defender award. Best Striker of the year recognition went to Ugandan International striker Emmanuel Okwi, who was as well the league top scorer with 21 goals, while Shiza Kichuya was voted the Best Midfielder of the year.
The awards did not leave behind the Technical bench, with Frenchman Pierre Lechantre and his Assistant Burundian Masoud Djuma and their colleagues were presented with awards in recognition of their good work, which saw Simba winning the league title after five years.
However, after being presented with the accolade the Frenchman Lechantre took the opportunity to wish the club and its supporters the best of luck in the next season, which was interpreted by pundits as farewell after serving the club for six months. Young upcoming Player Award went to Rashid Juma, while the Best Female Player accolade was taken by Zainabu Rashid Pazzi from the Simba Queens.
In her votes of thanks, Pazzi requested Dewji to also turn his focus on the women’s team, which is facing various challenges. The awards also went to the late Fihi Salehe Kambi (Fan of the Year), Ubungo Terminal (Branch of the year) and Acting Simba president Salim Abdallah alias ‘Try Again’ (Leader of the year).
Abdallah, who was received the award from Dewji, dedicated his recognition to all the club leaders, president Evans Aveva and his vice Godfrey Nyange, who he said they championed the club’s transformation process.
He also dedicated it to players, members and supporters for their cooperation and teamwork. Famous Bongofleva artiste, Hamis Mwijuma alias Mwana FA and famous TV – Presenter Salama Jabir won the Social Media Influencer of the year award which was also vied by Kigoma Urban MP Zitto Kabwe, Vyonne Cherrie (Monalisa) and Omary Nyembo alias ‘Ommy Dimpoz’, whereas Haji Manara the club’s Head of Information and Communications won the Influencer of the Year accolade. T
he 18 members of Simba transformation team under the tutelage of retired Judge Thomas Mihayo were rewarded for their great contribution in the club transformation.