Kenya and TZ clubs to go toe-to-toe: Ingwe coach Versiljevik hoping to profit from Simba SC fatigue

By Ernest Ndunda in Dar es Salaam: Monday, January 21st 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
AFC Leopards players train ahead of the SportPesa Cup at JK Park in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Sunday, January 20,2019. [Ernest Ndunda]

The winner of the tournament to pocket US$ 30,000.

AFC Leopards, Bandari, Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks tune up for SportPesa Cup.

AFC Leopards coach Marko Versiljevik said he hopes to will capitalise on Simba’s fatigue to bundle them out of the Sportpesa Cup when they meet on Wednesday’s quarter final match at the 60,000-seater National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

“Simba are fatigued after playing in two competitive Caf Champions league matches against JS Saoura (Algeria) and Vita Club (DR Congo) within a week,” said the Serbian tactician after their workout at JK Park, yesterday.

Improved Leopards

“We have prepared well for the match. Simba will be under pressure as they will be playing before their thousands of fans but this will not intimidate us,” added the coach.

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The coach said Sportpesa Cup is a good competition for his club and all the players are in good condition to get to the final. Gor Mahia are the holders of the Cup.

“The boys have shown great improvement lately and we want to show Tanzanians what AFC Leopards is made of. We are here in Tanzania for a serious mission to win the Cup and get a chance of playing Everton later in the year,” added the coach in an interview with Standard Sports at the SportPesa headquarters at Peninsula House along the famous Coco Beach.

Majid injury

The 13-time Kenyan champions will miss the services of midfielder Victor Majid, who is down with a knee injury but coach Versiljevik is not worried as he has a replacement.

Simba SC lost 2-0 to champions Gor Mahia in last year’s final in Nakuru and morale is down at the former’s camp after they were whitewashed 5-0 on Saturday in Kinshasa by Vita Club in a Caf Champions league group match. The Tanzanians returned home yesterday. Simba had beaten Algeria’s JS Saoura FC last weekend in Dar es Salaam in their first Caf Champions group stages match.

Leopards captain Robinson Kamura said the boys are ready for the tournament. “We are fully prepared for the match against Simba and we shall continue playing as a strong unit to knock out our opponents,” said Kamura.

“It’s going to be a tough match as Simba will be enjoying massive home support but this will not be a threat to us. We are used to playing in front of big and intimidating crowds,” added the captain.

Other two Kenyan teams in Dar es Salaam Bandari and Kariobangi Sharks also trained yesterday and remain optimistic of posting good results. Kariobangi Sharks trained at Boko ground under tactician William Mluya while Bandari under the tutelage of coach Bernard Mwalala had their workouts at Police ground.

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