As Simba Sports Club prepared to face ES Setif of Algeria in a first leg home tie for the second round of the Confederation Cup tournament, a casual news item demonstrated the obvious, that nationalism was well and truly over for Dar es Salaam fans.
The item suggested that upon arrival of the North African side, to city rivals another face of recently visiting Zamalek FC of Egypt, with the notable difference that it is the other club that will be 'facing the music,' their jerseys were being scrambled upon. Young Africans SC fans could not wait to get their hands on the jerseys, ready for the match...
Most likely being aware that Yanga fans were not going to pay attention to his appeals, Simba head coach Milovan Circovik issued the only sensible appeal one could make on such occasion, namely to ask city fans to bury their club differences and cheer the home side.
That is ordinarily what is supposed to be the case, that 'blood is thicker than water,' so when the local rival club faces foreign opponents, all our sympathies should be with the home side. It is possible that would still be the case in Cairo or for that matter in Algiers, but it is also probable that some of these metropolitan diseases are evenly spread.
The metropolitan sentiment isn't far to seek in grappling with the phenomenon, where Simba fans were in wild cheer of Zamalek as they confidently handled the local side, Yanga to a one-all draw, and each of those present in the National Stadium knew the die was cast.
The best Yanga could wish for in the return leg was a draw, as it appeared an assignment to beat Zameleck on their home turf was bit high on the mark, despite that the return match ended in a 1-0 win for the home team. A soccer professional could have said Yanga had to be relieved at the margin as they didn't lose face, but they were bitter, still.
To an extent the bitterness of their loss to Zamaleck played a part in their inability to countenance another loss to Azam FC, fourth in a row, the moment it appeared that the game was going against them early in the first half. Ideally, the match against Azam should have demonstrated to the pundits and fans that the Jangwani Street side was as good as ever -or it was comparable to Zamaleck – by thrashing the local opponents and putting the ghosts of defeat to a long good rest. But that was not to be as Azam was handing them yet another defeat, to the glee of Simba fans, and then add up to the Zamalek defeat, see?
So while a few pundits were trying to demonstrate that Simba have a fairly good record against North African sides and stands a good chance of making good use of the home turf, this could be marred by the number of local fans who wish to see them go down at home.
Simba were going to be at home in as clear a manner as they are at home in the National Stadium when playing Yanga in a premier league tie, not much more.
There would be nearly as many ES Setif fans borrowed massively from the Jangwani Street rival cluband it was certainly going to be a task for Simba fans to drown their noise or banging.