SIMBA have been knocked out of the CAF Champions League, following a heartbreaking 1-1 draw against UD Songo of Mozambique at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
UD Songo sailed through with an away goal rule, following a barren draw in the first leg, which was held in Beira, Mozambique a fortnight ago.
Skipper, Luis Misquissone netted the opener for UD Songo early in the first half but Erasto Nyoni pulled level from a spot kick late in the second half.
However, it was not enough for Simba to knock out the visitors. It was heartbreaking for Simba fans, who thronged the venue as they saw their team failing to meet the target of reaching the semifinals of the continental top tier club championships, following their successful campaign last season, in which they reached the last eight.
Simba were let down by lack of striking depth as evidenced with the hosts of clear scoring chances they squandered especially in the second half.
The Msimbazi Reds went into the match, sweating over shrinking striking depth with only Meddie Kagere as a recognised striker, Key striker and kipper John Bocco is out injured while, Brazilian striker Wilker Da Silva, who picked an injury during the team’s pre-season tour of South Africa has yet to feature for his new club in any competitive game.
He is as well still struggling to adapt with African football. Creative attacker Ibrahim Ajib, who can as well be deployed as a second striker, is still recovering from injuries, leaving Aussems with little to pick in striking force.
The results yesterday, suggest that Simba are already missing deadly Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi, who is not in the squad this season.
Okwi together with Kagere and Bocco made a fearsome scoring trio scoring a combined 54 league goals.
Head Coach Patrick Aussems looked at the touchline as his side lacked intensity as the visitors took control of the game in the opening exchanges as Simba were second best.
UD Songo’s performance was full of power and energy, while Simba clearly lacked energy upfront.
It was a strong start for UD Songo, who knew that a win or draw with goals will be enough to eliminate Simba in the early stage of the tournament, just three minutes into the game, midfielder, Jonas Mkude lost possession in danger zone to deadly Misquissone but the striker, who tormented Simba defenders saw his shot sailing wide.
The visitors were rewarded with their pressing game as Simba were behind in the 13th minute, when Misquissone set piece beat the wall to sail into the back of the net past hapless goalkeeper, Aishi Manula.
The foul was awarded to Songo after defenders fouled the captain who pressed from a counter attack.
Simba slightly came into the picture and in the 19th minute, Sharaf Eldin Ali Shiboub’s header from Gadiel Michael cross narrowly sailed wide.
Three minutes later, Kagere thought he had scored, when he raced to a low cross in from Michael and his shot hit the top bar before crossing the line but referee Jean Claude Ishimwe from Rwanda ruled it out for an offside.
In the 32nd minute, Chama arrived at Deo Kanda’s cross in but his clutching shot missed the target. Simba were forced to make early changes in the 41st minute, when Hassan Dilunga replaced ineffective Francis Kahata as the game rolled into the break.
In the second stanza, Simba came strong and pressed hard for an equaliser. After an hour mark, Miraji Athumani replaced Shiboub and with 15 minutes to go, Mohammed Hussein replaced Michael as Simba mounted pressure but time was against them.
In the 78th minute, Kanda’s shot hit the top bar and in the 84th minute, Simba won a spot kick. Chama’s defence splitting pass found Miraji in space but the youthful striker was fouled inside the box.
Nyoni stepped up to pull level but there was no time for Simba to win the game.
Simba now join KMC, who were knocked out of CAF Con- federation Cup by Rwandese side AS Kigali on a 2-1 aggregate.
They lost 2-1 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Friday after a barren draw in Kigali a fortnight ago.
KMKM of Zanzibar have also been knocked out of CAF Champions League with a 4-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Primiero de Agosto of Angola.
They lost 2-0 in Zanzibar two weeks ago and succumbed the same margin defeat away in Lu- anda on Saturday.