IT was a banner week for Tanzanian football when Simba and Mtibwa Sugar raked remarkable victories in their continental level championships. The voluminous wins, have upgraded the status of the teams and as well marketed skills of the players who contributed to both teams’ sky-high success.
Simba sealed a 8-1 whitewash against Mbabane Swallows; posting a 4-1 win in Dar es Salaam and improved the score to 4-0 victory away in Mbabane, Eswatini on Tuesday in the preliminary round, return leg of the CAF Champions League.
Mtibwa Sugar, who returned to the continental level events after 14 years, also enjoyed a massive 5-0 aggregate victory over Northern Dynamo of Seychelles in the CAF Confederation Cup. They began their campaign with a clean 4-0 win at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam before finishing off their opponents with a slim 1-0 in Mahe, Seychelles on Tuesday.
Though Zimamoto failed to advance into the next stage of CAF Confederation Cup, their 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs was a big thriller for the newly established side.
However, Zimamoto could not progress into the next round as they had to overcome a 4-0 win they suffered in Johannesburg a week later.
Beating Kaizer Chiefs, one African football giants, was a rare feat for Zanzibar side, Zimamoto’s Head Coach Abdulrahman Hassan said publicly it was the life time achievement for his young team. The big lesson here is that even giants like Kaizer Chiefs can be beaten so long there are a will, ability and effective winning strategies.
It is very possible for Zimamoto and other Isles-based teams to achieve in the continental level tournaments if they all take a lesson from Malindi FC, the Zanzibar team that managed to reach a quarter final stage of African Cup Winners Cup in 1994. Malindi, heavily supported by a businessman Naushad Mohamed reached the stage by recruiting good players from Zambia, Tanzania Mainland and as far as Serbia.
No other Isles team has reached that far since then.
But worth to consider for Zimamoto players and the management is by beating Kaizer Chiefs, their team has now drawn attention of football stakeholders in the continent as their opponents have enjoyed a huge continental appeal for many decades.
It is too early to know how the win over the giants Kaizer Chiefs, advertised the credibility of Zimamoto players, but it was too damaging to the South African football giants.
In the records, their defeat in the second leg is among the most humiliating in South Africa’s 25 years of competing in African club competition.
Shortly after the match, Zimamoto coach said they were battling to turn the table against the visitors but lady luck was not on their side. “We needed more goals to turn around the score but we are pleased with a win against one of the top clubs in Africa,” he said.
Little known in African football circuit, Zimamoto must have understood now, they must invest in the team’s development, learn from others how to do it and verily they can reach where Malindi reached in 1994.
In retrospect, there is everything to gain for the Mainland’s envoys; Simba and Mtibwa Sugar despite advancing to the upper stages. We still expect the mixed fortunes to land the both teams since their voluminous wins at home are crystal clear that they both possess the high valued scorers.
Simba and Mtibwa Sugar have netted 13 goals, eight at home each and five away in Mbabane and Mahe.
Players who had brilliant performance, including traditional scorers will be hunted much since they have proved vital.
Arguably, Clatous Chama, the Zambian midfield dynamo who netted three of the eight goals, Meddie Kagere, who netted two, John Bocco who also netted a brace, are likely to herald the transfer windows and so is Ugandan import, Emmanuel Okwi, who scored the one of the eight goal.
Jaffar Kibaya, who netted a hat-trick in Mtibwa Sugar’s 4-0 home, has well written his name among the hitmen.
He has just to prove it when Mtibwa Sugar plays their First Round match. Haruna Chanongo, who slammed home the winner for Mtibwa Sugar away in Mahe, can also join the list of marketable players.
There are also Salum Kihimbwa, Shaaban Kado and Issa Rashid (Baba Ubaya), who played well in their both matches.
From what published in the website of the continental football governing body (CAF), Mtibwa Sugar had good mileage from winning a ticket to play again in CAF level event to the brilliant results the team raked in Dar es Salaam and Mahe.
Simba whose victory has stamped their name brightly at the continental level, as they the home venue jinx that Mbabane Swallows, capitalized against their opponents.
Swallows, who are used to dramatically turn the tables as did against the likes of Orapa United of Botswana and Congo Brazzaville’s AC Leopards, failed to do the same against Simba when found themselves 0-2 down in the opening half.
A first half brace from Simba’s creative midfielder Clatous Chama and second half goal apiece by Emmanuel Okwi and Meddie Kagere, saw Simba snapping up an 8-1 aggregate victory, to progress into the first round of the continental top tier club championship.
The Msimbazi Reds will now face Zambia’s Nkana who defeated UD Songo of Mozambique with 3-1 aggregate victory. We expect to see much from Simba players when they play against Nkana Red Devils, one of the Zambian giants in football, do Simba clear the Zambian hurdle, the team and it’s players status will arguably make a sky-high leap.