Out of four domestic outfits representing the country in CAF competitions, it is the Mainland Premier League giants, Simba, that stand a chance to progress to the next stage of the continental events after managing a 1-1 draw with SC Kiyovu in the first leg match of the Confederation Cup’s preliminary round at Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda last Saturday.
Either a barren draw or a win of any margin over the Rwandese outfit in the return leg match, which will be played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on the weekend of March 2, 3 and 4, will see Simba qualify for the first round.
Should Simba knock SC Kiyovu out, they will face ES Setif of Algeria, in which the first leg match will take place in Dar es Salaam between March 23 and 25 before the two sides clash in the return leg in Algiers two weeks later.
The situation is quite the opposite to that of other teams, Mainland Premier League Champions, Yanga, and Zanzibar’s Jamhuri FC and Mafunzo, whose results against Egyptian giants, Zamalek, Zimbabwe’s Hwange and Mozambique’s Liga Muculmana respectively in the home games, offered extremely slim hopes of success in the away return leg matches.
Yanga could only manage a 1-1 draw with Zamalek in a game the Tanzanians needed to win convincingly to harbour any hopes of knocking the Egyptians out of the African Champions League’s preliminary round. The Tanzanian champions were definitely in a position to grab a stunning victory over Zamalek going by the former’s performance in the game but the team surprisingly failed to exploit numerous scoring chances it had to eventually secure the draw.
And Yanga’s Serbian coach, Kostadin Papic, was dissatisfied with his team’s failure to take its chances in the match although he was overall impressed by the improvement the team had shown. With Zamalek’s Assistant Coach, Esmael Yossef, promising a battle in the return leg match, to be played in Cairo between March 2 and 4, Yanga will have a rather huge task of claiming victory over their experienced opponents at the latter’s backyard.
Jamhuri FC suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Hwange of Zimbabwe in the first leg of the Confederation Cup’s preliminary round played in Zanzibar the same weekend and that means the Zanzibar outfit is all but out of the tournament. Jamhuri will need a win of over four clear goals at their opponent’s backyard to progress to the first round, a feat that undoubtedly looks difficult to achieve for the former.
The same could be said of Mafunzo, which conceded a 2-0 defeat to Liga Muculmana of Mozambique in the home game and the former will need to overcome the Mozambicans by three clear goals, yet another tricky task, at the latter’s home venue two weeks later.
The less impressive results attained by Yanga, Jamhuri FC and Mafunzo obviously shed light on plenty of weaknesses prevailing in domestic soccer and that calls for determination on the part of soccer lovers in the country to seek better ways to revamp the clubs’ performance at the continental level.
Almost all four outfits relied on the domestic leagues to prepare for their respective continental assignments and that already happened to be one of the aspects that cast doubt on their chances to perform well in the CAF competitions. With the Tanzanian clubs facing another heart-breaking moment in continental competitions, the onus is now on domestic soccer stakeholders to ensure the teams embark on better preparations next time to avoid similar embarrassment.