Oliviera ponder Azam fall vs Simba today

SIMBA Head Coach Roberto Oliviera has demanded a positive response from his players as they host Azam in a heavyweight match at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.

Dubbed ‘Mzizima Derby,’ the game falls in the 23rd round of the Premier League with both sides looking upbeat to claim maximum points to cement their stay on the log.

It is a battle between the second-placed Simba who have claimed 53 points from 22 matches against the fourth slot occupants Azam with 43 points after 22 outings hence a 10-point gap separates them.

“We have worked a lot on finishing because we do play good football but the problem we usually experience is how to score,” said Oliviera in a pre-match briefing in the city on Monday.

He also cherished the return of midfielder Sadio Kanoute to his squad  saying he is an important player and his presence in today’s match is going to add value to his team’s performance.

“I think we need to be aggressive inside the box, there is no need to lose much time. When you get a chance to shoot, then shoot, this is my objective,” he said.

He then seized the opportunity to thank thousands of Simba fans who descended at Benjamin Mkapa arena to support them during their past Champions League game against Raja Casablanca.

“Though the results were not what we wanted, the atmosphere inside the stadium was amazing and our fans should not give up because even Argentina lost their first world cup match but in the end, they were crowned champions,” the Brazilian trainer said.

On his part, Azam Assistant Coach John Matambala revealed that preparations for the big match are over and that players are looking forward to execute well their responsibilities.

“To our side, we have had enough period to gear up for the match, we are aware that we are facing Simba who are still key title contenders of the season as such, all precautions have been considered,” he said.

Azam’s previous league match saw them suffering a 2-1 loss to  Dodoma Jiji at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma on February 4th which deprived them maximum points from away venue.

Since then, they have engaged KMKM and Mlandege from Zanzibar in two friendly matches played at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam and they managed to win both games.

They first outclassed KMKM 1-0 before battering Mlandege 3-0 hence scoring four goals in two build-up encounters while at the same time keeping the clean sheet.

The duels were specifically arranged to keep the squad in combat mood ahead of today’s tense meeting as either side is curious to pocket essential points at the sound of the final whistle.

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