SIMBA’S crème de la crème squad arrived in Dar es Salaam yesterday for their final tune up, ahead of the Saturday’s CAF Champions League group D match against Algeria’s JS Saoura at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
However, the club has also left in Zanzibar eight senior players, who will reinforce the B squad under coaches Mussa Hassan Mgosi and Nico Kiondo for the remaining matches of the 2019 Mapinduzi Cup tournament.
Team Manager, Abass Ali said yesterday that players who have been left in Unguja are Ally Salim, Zana Coulibaly, Asante Kwasi, Paul Bukaba, Yusuf Mlipili, Adam Salamba, Abdul Seleman and Mohamed Ibrahim (MO).
He said 18 players and technical bench staff under Head Coach, Patrick Aussems sailed from Zanzibar to pitch camp in Dar es Salaam ready for the crunch battle.
They include Aishi Manula, Deogratius Munishi, Nicholas Gyan, Mohammed Hussein, Pascal Wawa, Jjuuko Murshid, James Kotei, Jonas Mkude and Said Ndemla.
The list also has Muzamir Yassin, Haruna Niyonzima, Hassan Dilunga, Shiza Kichuya, Clatous Chama, Meddie Kagere, Emmanuel Okwi, John Bocco and Rashid Juma.
Versatile defender Erasto Nyoni will miss Saturday’s clash after he sustained a knee injury last Sunday, when Simba defeated KMKM 1-0 at Amani Stadium in Unguja, during the ongoing Mapinduzi Cup.
At the moment, Nyoni is still undergoing treatment and Manara said the defender could return to the action somewhere mid-next month.
“Our focus is to excel in both -- CAF Champions League and Mapinduzi Cup and we believe the two squads have got the depth required to win the respective assignments,” he said.
The club’s Head of Communications, Haji Manara said on Tuesday at a press briefing hosted at the team’s headquarters in the city that the other squad will remain in Zanzibar to continue with Mapinduzi Cup tournament.
“This is the game which serves for the interest of the entire nation as such, our number one target is to ensure that we claim all nine points from the home ground and praying to record at least a single draw in our away encounters,” he said.
He continued: “During the qualifying round of the competition, our priority was to reach into the group stage which has been accomplished.
Now, we have set another goal to reach into the semi-finals of the competition. I believe that this is possible because we have experienced players and coach, who knows a lot about African football.”
Furthermore, Manara unveiled ‘Yes We Can’ campaign which he said would be used as a motivating factor to enable the team to excel in the group stage of the continental top tier club championship.
Elaborating more on their opponents (JS Saoura), who are expected to jet in Dar es Salaam tomorrow night, Manara said they are a good side not to be underrated at all.
“Reaching into the last-16 alone of the CAF Champions League is not a joke meaning that they are too one of the best teams in Africa.
We will respect them but not fear them,” he said.
He then called upon Simba fans to throng the 60,000 capacity National Stadium and give their team deserved support from the first minute to the last.
“Let’s make another history more than we did against Nkana FC by filling the stadium to capacity,” he said.
Meanwhile, midfielder Haruna Niyonzima produced a scintillating performance as Simba signed off their group stage matches at the ongoing Mapinduzi Cup on a high note, beating Mlandege FC 1-0 at the Amani Stadium in Unguja.
Niyonzima netted the solitary goal through a well taken spot kick in the 21st minute.
The penalty was awarded to Simba by referee Rashid Farhan, after goal bound Asante Kwasi was fouled in the box.
Simba have collected maximum nine points after winning all group stage matches to top group A.