All eyes are on the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam this Saturday as East Africa’s biggest club and lone representatives in the CAF Champions League, Tanzania’s Simba FC, face a herculean task in the second leg of their quarter final game against Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa.
Simba lost 4-0 last weekend at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, and now face elimination, short of a miracle. The return match at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium could offer them home advantage and support from their fan base, but coach Didier Gomes da Rosa has to address the defensive hiccups that saw the team collapse to a barrage of attacks from the Chiefs.
Their loss to the Amakhosi was mostly due to their porous defence. Da Rosa termed their opponents “tough” and acknowledged his team’s defensive lapses and hinted at the different levels of fitness between the two teams.
This Saturday, Da Rosa is expected to turn the game on the Amakhosi, get early goals to frustrate their opponents, who see the importance of “managing well” the Dar es Salaam game.
Simba, a club with a rich history since 1936, is the biggest club in East and Central Africa, with a fan base of over 10 million across the regions. Playing at the “home” ground famously known as “Kwa Mkapa” the team will need to turn its game failures at the FNB Stadium in Soweto to successes.
“Nothing is impossible in the game of soccer. It depends on if coach reads the rivals’ gameplan correctly,” said Ahmed Abdalla said, an ardent Simba fan.
Simba need at least four goals for a chance to qualify for the semi-finals.
Simba board chairperson and co-owner businessman Mohamed Dewji tweeted, “We have lost the battle, but not the war. We will keep on fighting with our blood, sweat, and tears to live another day.”