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Weather advantage and Simba`s away tie

1st April 2012
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Those who witnessed the game between hosts Simba SC and visiting Algerian side Setif for the Confederation Cup first leg tie at the National Stadium bear witness to one thing, that the visitors were almost always out of breath.

They say the players kept consuming bottles of water and juices at random or with abandon, indicating that they did not acclimatise enough despite having stayed and practised in Dar for about three days.

It would mean that they needed up to two weeks to fully acclimatise and play on level basis with the local side, which was of course unfeasible, even if they have active sponsorship.

What was also a bit surprising was that this situation did not appear to have so adversely affected the recently hosted Egyptian side, Zamalek,in which case its game against Young Africans SC remained true to the rule book, that the visitors were a more powerful side.

They benched a score of their regular first team line up, but as some commentators point out, Zamalek is like any other professional side, that it doesn't always have a 'regular first team line up,' but combinations and play partnerships, having seen which midfield arrangement works better, or strike combinations and positioning, over a while.

Zamalek may even have conducted a bit of an experimental line up or combination of players in its away match, the sort or thing that a coach often does with a friendly match, as any negative result is only so psychologically, as a learning event. Only in the return match would they field a 'regular first team line up' or the most workable combination available, which means Zamalek felt strong enough to treat its first match with the local side virtually as a friendly.

It at any rate shows that the problem of weather did not occur for the Egyptian side unlike their North African colleagues, for some reason.

Lookling closely at the two countries or the main cities of Cairo and Algiers (without locating Setif more or less precisely on the map), the difference between the two sides' ability to acclimatise cabe discrened.

In the first place Algeria is further north in which case it has a more European climate (that is, within the Mediterranean ecosystem or average climatological features), while on the other hand it is likely that Cairo has a more plain surface than Algeria, often inclined to mountainous regions not far from the coast.

Zamalek players needed marginal acclimatisation from the northern winter, not Setif.

When it comes to the return leg, it is evident that Setif will have a neat advantage over Simba in climatic terms, which shall also tell in their resilience in the pitch, unlike their first show of thirst and being dazed from the humidity and sun.

But this advantage might be more formal than practical given the fact that teams have a clear problem when it comes to adapting to humidity and sun, and much less of a problem if the problem is cooler air.

Only if temperatures would go to freezing points it would be quite difficult for Simba players to acclimatise; the weather is to thank when Simba eliminates Setif.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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