First half goals by winger Uhuru Selemani and midfielder Haruna Moshi and the third scored deep in the second half by another midfielder, Mwinyi Kazimoto, propelled Simba to 56 points that have effectively seen the side close in on the title.
“I now, more than before, think we are already champions…we have just remained with two matches, so, yes we will be champions,” said a grinning Cirkovic shortly after the match.
Cirkovic’s statement was buoyed by confident displays his side put in the Wednesday match to silence JKT Ruvu, which seemingly did not put much fight in the entertaining game. Victory in the remaining two matches against Moro United and rivals, Yanga, will all but seal Simba’s triumph in the domestic top flight, a success the team has been yearning for, right from the league’s kick off.
With defending champions, Yanga, having fallen 1-0 to Kagera Sugar at the latter’s backyard, Kaitaba Stadium, the same day, the Jangwani Street side’s bid for title retention definitely went up in smokes as the team will only reach 52 points should it win the three remaining matches against Polisi Dodoma, Arusha’s JKT Oljoro and rivals, Simba. Cirkovic proceeded to praise his squad for showcasing solid performance to keep their Coast Region opponents at bay although the latter did manage to play well at times.
“It was a quite entertaining match…Simba played well and Ruvu played well too. I am satisfied with the results,” he said. The Serbian tactician hinted that the match has also served as crucial preparations for his side ahead of the second round match of the CAF Confederation Cup against Sudan’s Al Ahly Shandy, scheduled for the weekend of April 27-29 in Dar es Salaam this year.
Although Simba were in control of the Wednesday match for the better part, JKT Ruvu, well known for their combative approach, could have changed the course of the match particularly during the closing stages of the first half when they made a couple of dangerous forays into Simba box only to be let down by inept finishing.
Ruvu’s talismanic striker, Hussein Bunu, was disappointingly below par and he struggled to find his usual scoring touch for the better part of the first half before he was eventually substituted at the breather. The muscular, speedy striker opted to play wide on the right at times in the first half and was twice released by midfielders only to disappointingly fluff the chances inside Simba box.
The match also witnessed two players experience contrasting fortunes, in which midfielder, Kazimoto, a former JKT Ruvu player, capped a rather quiet evening by scoring against his former club with a spectacular long range strike in the second half. JKT Ruvu midfielder, Mohamed Banka, recruited from Simba early in the second round of the league, was lively in the middle of the pack but struggled against a much more formidable midfield of his former club, comprising Rwandan Patrick Mafisango, Kazimoto and Moshi, and the Ruvu player eventually had to be rested midway through the second half amid applause from Simba fans, who did not hesitate to express their appreciation of their former player.
Banka was arguably Ruvu’s biggest threat to Simba in the final third of the pitch but lack of support from fellow midfielders, coupled with inept finishing by the team’s forward, frustrated his attempt to get the better of Simba. Meanwhile, the Simba versus JKT Ruvu match realized 30m/- the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer Boniface Wambura said yesterday. He said at least 8,362 fans bought tickets to watch the match.