SIMBA face a moment of truth today as they confront their Algerian counterparts, JS Saoura in the return leg group D match of CAF Champions League.
The match that is likely to decide Simba’s chances to cruise into the Champions League last eight will be staged at Stade 20 Août 1955 in Bechar town located on the western Algeria.
In their first leg played in Dar es Salaam almost three months ago, at the start of the group stage, Simba beat JS Saoura 3-0, which saw their coach Nabil Neghiz fired. Simba have a shocking away record in the group, twice suffering 5-0 hidings.
However, Simba skipper, John Bocco has said the team was in great spirit and raring to go, ahead of their group D clash. Simba, who are placed second in the group with six points, a point behind group leaders Al Ahly of Egypt, landed in Algiers on Wednesday in time for the clash set to kick off 22 hours (EAT). According to reports from Algeria, all players are in high spirit.
The match will be officiated by referee Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who will be assisted by his compatriot Olivier Safari Kabene and Soulaimane Amaldine from Comoro.
And, skipper Bocco promised the club supporters that the team will put up a big fight to ensure they post positive results to remain in contention for a place into the quarterfinals of the continental top tier clubs championship.
Bocco said missing key striker, Emmanuel Okwi and versatile defender, Erasto Nyoni and other key players won’t affect their performance against JS Saoura, who have proved to be a difficult side to beat at their home ground.
Head Coach, Patrick Aussems is also upbeat ahead of the match, saying that his charges are ready to break Algeria’s JS Saoura’s unbeaten home record in CAF Champions League. Aussems said he is not afraid of the current good home record by their opponents since everything has the beginning and an end.
“It is true that JS Saoura have not lost any match in the ongoing CAF Champions League group stage but we are ready to break that and collect maximum three points there,” the Belgian said.
He added that so far, he has observed that every team in the competition is doing well in their respective home matches just like the way his side has done in the past two games. Their Algerian opponents JS Saoura are third on the log with five points, while AS Vita from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) tail the group with four points.
If Simba manage to secure maximum points or a point, they will strengthen chances of heading into the last-eight stage. Missing Okwi through a knee injury, means Simba’s striking force against JS Saoura will be formed by hit man Meddie Kagere and Bocco.
Experienced defender Jjuuko Murshid is suspended after picking two yellow cards, while Nyoni was reportedly left due to lack of match fitness after recovering from injury.