Benchikha vows to fix Simba SC’s finishing woes

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 09:00 AM Apr 17 2024

Simba SC head coach, Abdelhak Benchikha.
Photo: Courtsey Of Simba Sc
Simba SC head coach, Abdelhak Benchikha.

AHEAD of the highly anticipated Dar es Salaam derby between Simba SC and Young Africans SC, the former’s head coach Abdelhak Benchikha has identified their biggest challenge- converting the scoring opportunities they create.

“We play well in every game, dominating large parts of the match, however, we consistently fail to capitalize on the chances we create,” Benchikha acknowledged.

This inefficiency has translated into missed points in recent matches, but Benchikha remains resolute, noting: “We haven’t given up on the championship fight, if we win all our remaining 10 games, that’s 30 points, and we’re still in contention.”

Benchikha emphasized the urgency of improvement, stating: “Everyone knows it, we play well, we create many chances, but failing to convert them is a major problem.”

Simba SC returned to training at Mo Simba Arena in Dar es Salaam on Monday, gearing up for the crucial league clash against Young Africans SC, alias Yanga, scheduled for Saturday at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

According to Simba SC’s Information and Communication Manager Ahmed Ali, all players participated in the training session, including goalkeeper Ayoub Lakred. The Moroccan shot-stopper missed the previous two matches against Mashujaa FC and Ihefu SC due to family issues.

To intensify preparations, Simba SC recently embarked on a short training camp in Zanzibar before returning to Dar es Salaam for their final preparations before the clash with their archrivals.

The Msimbazi Street side, despite a somewhat underwhelming season so far, clings to the possibility of a dramatic turnaround. Currently sitting third with 46 points from 20 games, they find themselves nine points adrift of league leader Yanga. 

The red and whites have managed 14 wins, four draws, and two losses, showcasing their resilience despite inconsistencies.

Their focus would hardly just be on the title- securing a coveted top-two finish and a place in the CAF Champions League is equally crucial.

Yanga, on the other hand, stands tall at the top of the table with a commanding 55 points from 21 matches. Their impressive form boasts 18 wins, a solitary draw, and just 2 losses.

The Jangwani Street side has been particularly dominant in attack, boasting the league’s most prolific offense with a staggering 52 goals.

Spearheading this offensive charge is midfielder Stephane Aziz Ki, who sits atop the scorers’ list with a remarkable 14 goals. Striker Joseph Guede’s recent brace against Singida Fountain Gate FC further bolsters Yanga's attacking prowess, keeping him in a confident mood.

Recent history between these two giants suggests a tight contest. The last five league meetings have produced a balanced outcome, with each team securing a single victory while the remaining three encounters ended in draws.

Yet, Yanga’s resounding 5-1 triumph in their most recent clash still lingers in their minds, undoubtedly fueling Simba SC’s desire for revenge.

This fixture transcends the realm of a regular league fixture. It is a battle between pride, bragging rights, and ultimately, the coveted NBC Premier League title.

Both sides will be desperate to avoid dropping points, making for a highly anticipated encounter filled with tactical twists and turns.