Imminent epic contest btn Simba,Yanga certain to set tonguues wagging 

10Apr 2023
Lloyd Elipokea
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Imminent epic contest btn Simba,Yanga certain to set tonguues wagging 

THIS Sunday, a seismic NBC Premier League clash between those two fierce nemeses, Simba SC and Yanga, will take center stage as the two old foes are set to face off in a mouthwatering league run-in, fondly dubbed the ‘Dar es Salaam Derby’.

Yanga's footballers celebrate when the club's attacker, Fiston Mayele, notched a goal against Simba SC in this season's Community Shield clash that was played in Dar es Salaam on August 13 last year. Yanga cruised to a 2-1 win. 

It should be noted that the top-of-the-table encounter comes at a time when both great arch-rivals are going great guns in this season's CAF inter-club competitions.

Nevertheless, the NBC Premier League rightly remains the bread and butter of both clubs and it should be acknowledged that where domestic football’s top flight is concerned, second-placed Simba SC has been playing catch-up to Yanga, which has undeniably been the league’s pace-setter for a gigantic chunk of the season thus far.

Indeed, the fact that Simba SC is presently uncomfortably sitting in second place on the table behind leaders Yanga should expectedly spice up the much-anticipated, one-of-a-kind football contest, which is unfailingly dramatic season-in, season-out.

Let us maintain the football theme and dive right into Africa’s record at the football World Cup, which is in dire need of improvement.

Even though Morocco laudably progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup last year in Qatar, it is still saddening that the 'Atlas Lions’ (Morocco’s nickname) stellar exertions last year marked the first time in history that an African team had advanced to the last four of the perennially gripping football championship.

It should be recollected here that the inaugural edition of the football World Cup was staged seemingly ages ago in 1930.

Indeed, from that moment in time, African teams at the football World Cup fruitlessly tried to make headway at the greatly esteemed football spectacle, that is, until the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

At that monumental World Cup in Italy, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon would go on a merry, giant-slaying run right up to the quarterfinals thereby becoming the first-ever African team to advance to that stage.

Needless to say, Cameroon’s memorable heroics at Italia 1990 were so impressive to the extent that they prompted the late Brazilian legend Pele to remark that an African team would win the football World Cup before the end of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, though, Pele’s bold prognostication would prove to be a false dawn.

In fact, from 1990, continental football buffs would have to wait until the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea for another African team to leave their mark on the quadrennial showpiece event.

And, it would be the Lions of Teranga (Senegal’s nickname) who would impressively steal the show at the first World Cup of the 21st century as they went on a fairy-tale run through the competition right up to the quarterfinals.

It should be pointed out here that apart from the 1990 and 2002 football world cups, African teams have registered notable performances at two other world cups.

These teams are the Black Stars of Ghana who shone brightly en route to reaching the quarterfinals of the 2010 football World Cup and Morocco, who last year unforgettably progressed to the semi-finals of the Qatar World Cup.

Indeed, it should be highlighted that an exodus of top-notch African football talents, leave the continent every year to ply their trade in greener pastures overseas.

Hence, the fact that African teams have produced eye-catching displays at only four world cups in 1990, 2002, 2010, and 2022 should be the source of unending frustration for every African football devotee.

Thus, despite doubtlessly having other important projects which it is working on, one hopes that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will strive in the coming years to ensure that an African team one day reaches a World Cup final, nay, wins the whole shebang.

 

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