AS clock ticks fast towards the highly-anticipated Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) final between Simba and Mbao FC due tomorrow at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma, both camps are steadily gripped by game fever.
Despite this being a tie pitting one of the country’s football bigwigs against a team in its debut season in the top flight football, anticipation for this clash has gripped the football fraternity.
Both teams have landed in the newly-designated capital city ready for the eagerly awaited grand finale. Simba, who are on paper favourites, arrived yesterday in Dodoma from Morogoro where they pitched a five-day training camp to fine tune for fixture, whose winner will be the country’s flag bearers at CAF Confederation Cup next season.
Simba, craving to return to continental club competitions after a four-year spell on the sideline, are optimistic that this time things may work out on their favour but are well aware of the tricky test they are in for.
Speaking yesterday in Morogoro shortly before departing for Dodoma, Simba assistant coach, Jackson Mayanja sounded positive, noting that they are determined to end their exile from international football and that his players are ready for the task ahead.
Mayanja said the camp in Morogoro has enabled the technical bench, under head coach Cameroonian Joseph Omog grill the squad in readiness for the final. “The team is in good condition and we don’t have injuries ahead of Saturday’s final.
This is a very crucial game that will define our season and we cannot afford to lose it. “We’re urging our supporters in Dodoma and nearby regions to turn up in big number at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma to support their team and inspire the player and ensure they execute their job well and we eventually win the title,’ he said.
Simba labored to a 3-2 win when the two teams met in the league match in April, with the Reds coming from two goals down at CCM Kirumba in Mwanza. Despite narrowly avoiding the drop in the final day of the season, Mbao have demonstrated a sort of guts and resilience that should wary their favoured opponents Simba.
They knocked out holders Young Africans with a 1-0 win in the semifinals and replicated that feat in the final day of the Premier League season against George Lwandamina’s charges, a win that confirmed their stay in the top flight league.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s showdown, Mbao FC head coach Etienne Ndairagije, whose side visited the National Assembly yesterday, they are looking to stun other giants in the final and enter in the country’s football history books.
He said they decided to travel early to the capital city to get used to the weather, insisting their sole objective is winning the Federation Cup and book the ticket to the continental second tier.
‘’ We will work hard to our last breath to win the final, we know Simba are a big team but should not expect an easy game as walking in a park,” said the Burundian.
Ndairagije’s side has been boosted with the return of influential player Evarigestus Bernard who was injured during the game against Azam FC.