Simba SC fan base more realistic as to club side potential

02May 2022
The Guardian Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Simba SC fan base more realistic as to club side potential

FANS of Tanzania’s continental competitions acknowledged representatives, Simba SC, appear to be less restive on the team’s performance in the wake of being bundled out of the CAF Confederation Cup by spot-kicks at the quarterfinals stage.

Some Simba SC supporters cheer at players during the 'Simba Day', an event hosted by the club to open the 2021/22 season, which took place in Dar es Salaam last year. Simba SC locked horns with Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)'s TP Mazembe in a friendly tie which took place later in the day, with TP Mazembe winning 1-0. PHOTO: CORRESPONDENT JUMANNE JUMA

Not only was there no one to blame for the results except perhaps Chris Mugalu who weakened the side with a red card in the final third of the match, but then his sending off didn’t have visible damage on the side.

Their opponents just got better with accurate passes, not more.

What was also the credit of the side in the way it handled the match was that it didn’t rely on single players, as two of their most reliable players weren’t on the lineup, before being cut to 10 men on the pitch.

Clatous Chama had already been fielded elsewhere for the tournament and Bernard Morrison would be risky after dramas in the earlier encounter, and when the red card is added, a betting novice could have ticked a substantial loss for the side but it wasn’t the case.

It follows that the team is more resilient and not disposed to lose at the quarterfinal level automatically, despite that they weren’t the event favourites.

Chroniclers have underlined that this is the third time the team has reached the quarterfinal stage, exiting at that point, but there is less excitement this time about what sort of ‘plans’ are needed so that the team not just attains quarterfinals next season but the semis or beyond.

The 3-1 home defeat against Botswana hard hitters Jwaneng Galaxy and exit from the CAF Champions League raised the level of realism by the pain it inflicted on club expectations and pride.

Reaching the quarterfinals of the second-tier tournament was a fillip on their nerves, but expectations that it was an easier tournament were likely to vaporize early.

Some unrealistic comments have still been heard from the fans, not exactly the pundits, for instance, the idea that there is a need to rely on youthful players rather than the old guard, someone even asserting the abilities of Shomari Kapombe upfield have diminished, etc.

That and plenty of other observations may have a point or two, but club soccer is always a combination of youthful energy and skills of veteran players to read the game or moves of opponents and do something about it. 

Veteran players quite often make the difference in outcomes, despite that youth talent and bursts of energy can be utterly effective.

Several pundits pointed out that on a one to one basis, the South African side was superior to the visitors in most departments, and to be honest the ability of the local champions to survive up to that stage and obtain a respectable result in its exit may have been due to the keeper, Aishi Manula.

It is also likely that the coaching has had an effect as the old-time goal range has been cut down, though the 3-1 results against the Botswana champions is a reminder that much remains to be done. 

Yet the question of what the side can do to strengthen the squad is wide open if they have a limitless budget for instance.

For once, it can be said that there is a need for greater competition in sponsorships firstly so that we have more capable sides in the local premier league that can also deliver in international competitions.

So far only the Msimbazi Street outfit has demonstrated the ability to stand on their own against the best sides in the CAF kaleidoscope, not even against Egyptian giants Al Ahly, admittedly the most decorated side the continent has up to now.

It implies that Msimbazi Street has a squad that can tune itself to play against any side in Africa and obtain good results, barring exceptional adrenalin moments, its ability is limited.

The past half-decade wasn’t the best moment for sponsorship, as all show of fiduciary liquidity was a signal to certain levels among regulatory agencies to collect reasonable amounts of revenue from that area.

Tidying up misdeeds in various quarters which otherwise have a commercial character disrupted the flow of resources to soccer and other areas. But now the pendulum has swung back, and they could act.

Earlier, older Premier League sponsor Vodacom (T) Ltd left the pitch and NBC took over, a bank that has a wealth of clients and potential takers of its products and needs admirers of its agents in innumerable corners of the country.

The presence of industrialist Mohammed Dewji is the basic explanation for Simba SC's successes, and instead of its remaining an exception or their city archrivals continuing to depend on speculators and merchants, a more solid source of investment in the club is required. 

Jangwani Street club has already cleared the desk to adopt a company format, and could perhaps ask Axial Communications, the new Tigo-Zantel operator, to land in the market with a bang. 

A long-term relationship with the needy city giants would be a welcome break, pushing Azam Media Group to do more about their side, plus Geita Gold, etc.