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New kid Juma stars for Simba

The towering youthful striker, who has joined Simba from Mtibwa Sugar ahead of next season, demonstrated his scoring ability with two well-taken first half goals leading Milovan Cirkovic's side to an ideal start at the eight-team championship.Mafunzo's Jaku Joma ensured a nervy finish to the encounter with an 80th minute strike, but there was to be no comeback for the army wardens, as Simba held on for their win.

Simba's Danish coach Cirkovic fielded his strongest possible first eleven, with newly-recruited stars Danny Mrwanda, Mussa Mudde and Patrick Mbiyavanga all given the nod in the starting line-up.The visitors, playing 24 hours after facing Express of Uganda in an international friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, which ended in a barren draw, showed no signs of fatigue as they enjoyed the lion's share of possession from the first whistle.

They deservedly went ahead in the 27th minute when Juma finished off a well crafted move by the Premier League champions.Juma doubled his side's advantage one minute before the interval and the victors took a 2-0 lead at the breather.It was a deserved lead for Simba, who could have added further goals in the opening half had they taken one of the numerous chances that went their way.

Both coaches reshuffled their squads on resumption. Simba retired left full-back Amir Maftah, Mrwanda, Mudde and Mbiyavanga, with Paul Lucian, Salim Kinje, Uhuru Selemani, Harun Othman and Mwinyi Kazimoto coming on.Mafunzo, meanwhile, brought in Bakari Ayoub and Wahid Ibrahim, who replaced Abdurahim Mohammed and Ismaili Khamis respectively.Mafunzo looked settled into the match in this second half and began to establish a rhythm with some patience in their play, but Simba were equally composed, making the game an end to end affair.

Juma succeeded to reduce the deficit for Mafunzo with ten minutes to go, which revived his side's hopes of salvaging a draw.Earlier on the day, Azam FC and Zanzibar U-23 side, Karume Boys played out a 1-1 draw in the first match played at the same venue.

Karume Boys took the lead in the 45th minute when Ibrahim Hamis converted from the spot kick after Joseph Owino had brought Mwinyi Ameir inside the penalty box. Azam equalized through their Ivorian striker, Kipre Tchetche in the 68th minute.

The tournament continues today with two matches pitting Mafunzo against Karume Boys due to kick off at 16:00hrs, while Simba will be entertaining Azam FC in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter, kicking off from 20:30 hrs.

YOUNG Africans will be seeking ...

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Author: MWAJUMA JUMA in Zanzibar

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