Mgunda pours praise on Simba duo after win over Dodoma Jiji

By Nassir Nchimbi , The Guardian
Published at 11:57 AM May 20 2024
Simba SC interim head coach Juma Mgunda
Photo: Courtesy of Simba SC
Simba SC interim head coach Juma Mgunda

AFTER a 1-0 win against Dodoma Jiji at Jamhuri Stadium on Friday, Simba SC interim head coach Juma Mgunda has poured praise on his two players after their excellent performance that contributed to their second-place push.

Simba won their last away game of the NBC Premier League season through their Ivorian striker Freddy Kouablan who scored the solo goal in the ninth minute of the game.

Third-choice goalkeeper Hussein Abel made his debut for the club and produced a couple of saves that earned Simba a clean sheet.

Speaking on the duo’s performance, Mgunda said he had various conversations with Kouablan in training grounds days before the game on the importance that he carries for the club with his role as the main striker.

"Freddy (Kouablan) and I had conversations heading into this game. Together with the technical bench, we told him about the merits of this game and that our win was in his hands. 

"We knew we wouldn't get many chances into the game because playing away from home is always very tough. We wanted to play fast and to run in spaces so that we could reach inside their box quickly and get chances to score goals. And we managed to score one goal.

"I told the rest of the team, we need an early goal otherwise it will be very tough to score in the late stages of the game. Honestly, with the type of the pitch it was tough to play our playing style," said Mgunda.

The gaffer also lauded Abel after making his debut in the NBC Premier League for the Msimbazi Reds after playing in the Mapinduzi Cup in January.

"Many people don't know that I promoted Abel and he is like a son to me. I gave him his first debut in the NBC Premier League when he was an under-23 goalie at Coastal Union. I know his ability. Starting him today was not a surprise because he was ready for this match.

"Having many options in goal is remarkable. The way he performed and ended with a clean sheet is a boast for him. He needs to keep on showing up in training and his chances will arrive," said Mgunda.

The former Coastal Union coach also talked about the importance of all players to be focused and ready for the upcoming fixtures to close the gap on goal difference and clinch the CAF Champions League berth.

Following the victory, Simba have accumulated 60 points from 27 matches, which is the same as Azam in terms of points and outings. 

Both are competing for the second slot, which grants the privilege to represent the country in the CAF Champions League.

However, it remains a tense race between Simba and Azam, with each targeting to secure the second slot. The remaining three matches will be decisive in determining the outcome.

Simba play their last three games at home against Geita Gold, KMC and JKT Tanzania.