Simba SC crowned 2022 Mapinduzi Cup tournament champions

18Jan 2022
Lloyd Elipokea
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Simba SC crowned 2022 Mapinduzi Cup tournament champions

​​​​​​​DESPITE the mighty exertions of Azam FC, Simba SC was still able to overpower the ‘ice cream makers’ 1-0 as the two sides crossed swords in the 2022 Mapinduzi Cup final last Saturday.

Simba SC's left fullback, Mohamed Hussein (R), seeks to get the better of Azam FC winger, Tepsi Evans, when the clubs met in the 2022 Mapinduzi Cup tournament's final on January 13. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SIMBA SC

The results can be most fittingly described as the perfect tonic for Simba SC, who have ominously started this year with all guns blazing.

Significantly too, the title triumph marks the first trophy captured by Simba SC under the tutelage of their Spanish coach Pablo Franco.

As Simba SC devotees revel in this glorious moment of sheer bliss, many of them will be hoping that the club can keep their bandwagon of success rolling merrily along all season long.

Naturally, though, the likes of Azam FC and Yanga will try their damnedest to stymie Simba’s lofty ambitions of achieving outright domination on the home football patch, which should leave us all salivating with excitement.

Moving on, as the 2021 AFCON finals continue to unfold, two West African titans have taken center-stage with their glittering and stellar displays.

First on this admittedly brief list are the hosts Cameroon, who have caught the eye with some brilliant attacking football.

Indeed, in their high-stakes opening encounter against Burkina Faso, Cameroon, unfortunately, went a goal behind in the first half.

However, despite trailing Burkina Faso 1-0, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon delivered the perfect riposte as the opening half approached its dying minutes.

Indeed, thanks to their skipper Vincent Abubakar, the Lions were not only able to level the match but they were also able to notch up another goal to go 2-1 in front, all before half-time.

And, since the Burkinabes proved unable to draw level in the second half, the Indomitable Lions were able to claim a morale-boosting 2-1 triumph in their tourney opener.

If this victory was enough to leave Cameroonian fans overjoyed though, the Indomitable Lions’ triumph against Ethiopia in their second group match must have put the teeming home fans in seventh heaven.

With the home fans roaring them on, the Indomitable Lions rolled back the years to an era in which they ruled the roost in African football by playing relentless attacking football to claim a 4-1 victory against Ethiopia, which sealed their berth in the Round of 16.

Another West African powerhouse that has been producing the goods at this year’s AFCON finals is the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Indeed, after claiming an exhilarating, slim 1-0 win over Egypt in their opening group match, the Super Eagles maintained winning ways by outplaying Sudan 3-1 to qualify for the Round of 16.

Further afield, though, it should be noted that the likes of Morocco and Egypt also have earned praise apart from those two West African juggernauts of Nigeria and Cameroon.

Nevertheless, the most important takeaway from the championship thus far is that some teams seem to be in the ascendancy while others are faltering on continental football’s most exalted stage.

Whichever way the cookie crumbles, one gets the distinct suspicion that we are in for a truly riveting and spellbinding tournament.