Akuffor, who also found the back of the net when Simba edged visiting Mathare United from Kenya 2-1 last weekend, again, showcased his goal poaching virtuosity when he pounced on a well measured pass from another newly recruited star, Mrisho Ngasa, inside the area and banged home on the 25th minute.
Ngasa had a goal disallowed for an off-side by the referee, Erick Onoka, early on in the second minute of the game, whose guest of honour was the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Magesa Mulongo. Simba striking force comprising Akuffor, Ngasa, Ramadhan Chombo and Kigi Makasi, continued to pile pressure on the JKT Oljoro defence thereafter but profligacy in front of the latter’s goal failed them.
Oljoro replied with a series of attacks but failed to get the better of Simba defence, which easily thwarted the attacks to see the Msimbazi Street side lead by the lone goal at the breather. Simba’s head coach, Milovan Cirkovic, made several noticeable changes in the Thursday’s squad, in which he rested his key first choice squad’s players, Amir Maftah, Nassor Masoud, Haruna Moshi, and newcomers, Abdallah Juma and Salum Kinje, for Haruna Shamte, Paul Ngalema, Ngasa and Chombo.
Oljoro also fielded new players, Ibrahim Mamba, from another premier league side, Kagera Sugar, and Sixtbert Mohamed from Moro United, as well as two other players from the side’s U-20 squad, Navo Sanane and Salim Mbonde. On resumption, Cirkovic substituted Makasi for Uhuru Selemani in a bid to give Simba fresh zeal attacking-wise.
Oljoro were a rejuvenated side early in the second half, which saw them showcase fancy footwork and launch a couple of good attacks to win noisy applause from fans that turned up but the team failed to convert several scoring chances into goals. Ngasa then made up for his previous misfortune when he nailed the second goal on the 76th minute as he went for a bicycle kick to connect home a cross floated in by substitute Abdallah Juma from the right flank.
Oljoro, though, were hardly unfazed as they pushed forward in search of goals and their efforts paid off when they grabbed a consolation on the stoppage time through a spot kick taken by Markus Rafael. The team won the penalty after Kenyan defender, Paschal Ochieng’, committed a foul in the area.
Both sides were using the friendly match to prepare for the forthcoming Mainland Premier League scheduled to kick off on September 15, this year. Simba were further aiming at putting their squad in great shape ahead of the anxiously awaited Charity Shield match against Azam FC penned for September 8 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The Charity Shield match serves as the league’s curtain raiser, in which the previous season’s champions clash with the league runners-up.
The game against JKT Oljoro served as another crucial opportunity for Simba’s coach, Cirkovic, to carefully assess his squad, particularly newly recruited players, as he seeks to guide the team to successful back to back title retention. The Msimbazi Street side’s latest new faces include defenders, Paschal Ochieng’ from Kenyan Premier League giants, AFC Leopards, Malian Komalbil Keita and striker, Daniel Akuffor, who was recruited from Stella Abidjan of Ivory Coast.
Cirkovic has already been speaking highly of his new players, saying their work ethic during the training sessions has so far been extremely impressive and he was looking forward to equally stellar performances from them in the Mainland Premier League campaign as well as continental assignments.