Simba optimistic in Cairo contest

AFTER a dramatic 2-2 draw in the thrilling opening African Football League (AFL) first-leg match, Simba’s coach Roberto Oliveira has insisted anything is possible in Tuesday’s return leg at Cairo International Stadium in Egypt.

The return leg is anticipated to be tight and gripping on account that away goals no longer count. The tie hangs in the balance heading into the return match in Egypt.

The Friday match was filled with excitement and mesmerisation as four goals were scored with each team sharing the plate equally. Reda Slim and Ahmed Kahraba scored for Al Ahly as Kibu Denis and Sadio Kanoute scored for the home side.

A few moments after the game ended, Simba’s coach stated that good results would be possible with proper preparation for the return leg. Furthermore, he praised his players for their spirited performance, especially in the second half when they came back from a goal down.

As he pointed out, the resilience has proved his side’s quality as Al Ahly are no easy opponents.

“I am very happy with how my players performed in the second half, showing a lot of aggression. Congratulations to them. It’s time to prepare ourselves for the next game. In football everything is possible,” he noted.

Regarding Friday’s match playing style, he highlighted he preferred midfielders to strikers to face his opponent.

“Simba has 28 players. You cannot use them all in one match. Players are sorted based on the type of match. We didn’t have number nine but Jean Baleke, John Bocco and Moses Phiri were on the bench. This was due to the type of match that needed more midfielders than attackers,” said Roberto.

In another development, Simba left for Cairo, Egypt yesterday from Dar es Salaam for the second leg. Apart from Simba (Tanzania) and Al Ahly (Egypt), other clubs in the competition are Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Angola), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC), Esperance (Tunisia), Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) and Enyimba of Nigeria.

According to the African football governing body – CAF, the winners of the inaugural African Football League will receive prize money of US 4 dollars million (equivalent to 10,012,000,000/-).  The runner-up will get US 2.8 dollars million (equivalent to 7,008,400,000/-). The two semi-finalists will each get US 1.7 dollars million (equivalent to 4,255,100,000/-). The quarter-finalists will each win 900,000 dollars (equivalent to 2,252,700,000/-).

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