SIMBA drew first blood of the season in a six-goal thriller, after beating resolute Azam FC 4-2 to lift the Community Shield at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Sudanese box to box midfielder Sharaf Eldin Shiboub grabbed a brace and skilful midfielders netted one each to give Simba their first silverware of the season, while Shaban Idd and Frank Domayo netted one each for the ‘ice cream makers’.
It was a fifth Community Shield for Simba, now tied with arch-rivals Young Africans, who also won it five times, while Mtibwa Sugar and Azam FC have lifted the Shield once each. And, it was also Simba’s third Community Shield on the trot.
They won last season, after beating Mtibwa Sugar 2-1 at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.
In 2017/2018 season, the Msimbazi Reds lifted the Shield after beating their traditional rivals Young Africans 5-4 on penalties at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Yesterday’s Shield match ushered in the 2019/2020 Mainland Premier League campaign.
It was a strong start from Simba as they pressed for an early opener but failed to cut past strong Azam defence, which was well marshalled by Yakub Mohamed.
Azam almost opened the score in the seventh minute through their youthful striker, Shaban Idd ‘Chilunda’ who raced to a long ball after beating an offside trap but his attempted chip went agonisingly wide.
Chilunda, who rejoined Azam from Spain side Tenerife powered home the opener in the 13th minute, beating goalkeeper Beno Kakolanya.
Azam’s celebration was short-lived as just three minutes later Sudanese midfielder Sharaf Eldin Shiboub Ali, who joined Simba from Al-Hilal, netted the equaliser.
Hassan Dilunga’s initial firecracker was parried off by goalkeeper, Razack Abarola and the Sudanese midfielder, who was prowling in the box, had an easy task to head home.
It was 2-1 up for Simba in the 22nd minute as Shiboub headed home the second off a well taken set piece by Mohammed Hussein.
Simba suffered a blow in the 27th minute, when skipper John Bocco, who had initially picked a knock following a challenge from Frank Domayo, limped off the field and was replaced by Clatous Chama.
After half an hour mark, Chilunda stretched Simba defenders to the limit, racing to a through pass from Salum Aboubakar and the striker rounded off Kakolanya but was forced to a tight angle.
Azam came close again five minutes before the interval but Burundian striker, Emmanuel Mvuyekure saw his spinning shot sailing wide with the only keeper to beat.
The open game rolled to the break with Simba slightly having a lion share of possession and shots on target.
After the break, Simba was in ascendency and Shiboub took a sharp turn in the 49th minute before he stung Abarola’s gloves with a powerful shot
.Azam Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije called in Masoud Abdallah, to replace Joseph Mahundi.
Chama scored the third for Simba in the 56th minute. The creative Zambian midfielder latched onto a drop ball after Meddie Kagere pressed and pocked the ball from Yakub and he teased Oscar Masai before squeezing the ball at the far post past hapless keeper Abarola.
With one eye on the next weekend CAF Champions League, preliminary round, second leg clash against Mozambique’s UD Songo at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Head Coach Patrick Aussems introduced Francis Kahata for Hassan Dilunga.
Obrey Chirwa also came in for Azam, replacing Nicholas Wadada, while Iddi Kipagwile came in for injured Chilunda but Simba was still the more dominant side.
The Msimbazi Reds also introduced Miraji Athumani for Congolese attacker Deo Kanda Domayo netted the second for Azam in the 78th minute. Chirwa rounded off Mohammed Hussein and his cut-back pass was well met with Domayo’s powerful connection.
However, there was still time for Simba to net the fourth goal through Kahata, who had the better of a defender and squeezed his shot at the far post under tight marking.