Simba reach quarters, want top group spot

By JAMES WAINDI in Morogoro

Six times regional champions Simba of Tanzania face a resurgent Red Sea of Eritrea in a crucial Group A encounter this afternoon at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Simba have seven points from three matches and are desperate to top the group in order to avoid a tough opponent in the quarterfinal, but Red Sea, who were late inclusions in the tournament, are expected to give them a run for their money.

Red Sea have been improving with each match, since they had a false start in the tournament that saw them lose their first match 2-0 to Zanzibar champions Ocean View. They recovered to beat Enticelles of Rwanda 4-1, before piping Burundi’s Vital’O 1-0 and would be happy to shock Simba, who are one of the tournament favourites.

Simba have been boosted by the return of their top marksman Emmanuel Okwi, a member of Ugandan Under-23 team, which thumped Kenya 5-1 last Monday in Nairobi and would certainly be a handful to the Eritreans’ defence.

"Our aim is to lead the group to always be on pole position. We have been progressing well in the competition and we stand a good chance of going all the way," said Simba coach Moses Basena.

If Simba top the group, they would meet the best qualifier in the group stages, but if they finish second they would book a date with Group B winner, which could be either Ugandan champions Bunamwaya, Sudan giants El Merreikh or their arch rivals Yanga, something that Simba would very much like to avoid for the moment.

Zanzibar’s Ocean View entertains Vital’O in the other match of the day at the same venue.

Meanwhile, goals from Haruna Moshi and Hassan Mgosi gave Simba a deserved 2-0 win over Enticelles of Rwanda on Friday.

Related Topics

soccer tanzania