AS Simba hunt for a place into the quarterfinals of CAF Champions League, defensive midfielder, James Kotei is optimistic they can make it into the knockout stage tomorrow.
Simba will host Congolese giants AS Vita Club in group D final game at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, which will determine the destiny of the both sides in the continental’s biggest football showpiece at club level.
The match will be graced by the Minister for State in the Vice-President’s Office (Union and Environment) January Makamba. It will be officiated by Moroccan referee Noureddine El Jaafar and he will be assisted by his compatriots Hicham Ait Abbou and Yahya Nouali respectively.
Going into the match, Kotei predicted a tough battle, but the Ghanaian midfielder believes he and his colleagues have what it takes to advance into the quarterfinals.
“As the club’s saying goes “Nguvu Moja” so we are together. Together we win. We have what it takes to advance to the quarterfinals and we have to beat AS Vita to realise that objective. We have the players to do the job. It won’t be easy but we are poised for victory,” he told CAF on line.
After failing to win against JS Saoura in the previous away game in Algeria last Saturday, Kotei and his fellow players believe in their abilities to turn the tables against AS Vita. The Congolese giants humiliated Simba 5-0 in the first leg encounter in Kinshasa.
Knowing only a win can take Simba through into the quarterfinals, Patrick Aussems charges stepped up drills at their Boko Veteran base in Dar es Salaam. And, good news for the host is that key players who were on the injury list are back in training and available for selection tomorrow.
Ace striker, Emmanuel Okwi, who was badly missed in the away game against JS Saoura last weekend after picking a knee injury, has been declared fully fit ready for the clash, same as versatile defender, Erasto Nyoni, who missed all group D matches and they all trained with the team on Tuesday and yesterday.
Central defender, Pascal Wawa has also shaken off injury scare and is reportedly fit for the match, while sturdy defender, Jjuuko Murshid, who was suspended in the previous match is also available for the match.
Losing 2-0 away against JS Saoura saw Simba, who were earlier placed second in the group, dropping to the bottom of the table on six points, while JS Saoura, who were third-placed, climbed up to the top after collecting eight points, hence leapfrogging Egyptian giants Al Ahly and AS Vita, who are second and third respectively tied on seven points. The Egyptians giants are above the Congolese on head-to-head tie breaker.
Simba had a poor record in away venues at the group stage after losing 5-0 to AS Vita in the first leg match staged in Kinshasa, before losing by the same margin to Al Ahly in Cairo and recently lost 2-0 to Saoura in Algeria.
However, the team has the best record at home venue, a situation that boosts their hope of making it to the knockout stage. They won 3-0 against JS Saoura in their opener at the National Stadium before stunning the Egyptian giants Al Ahly and the tournament’s eight times winner with 1-0 win in Dar es Salaam.
Meanwhile, Former Simba and AS Kigali tactician Burundian Masoud Djuma also believes the Reds can fully take advantage of the home turf to win the match.