Fever rises for Simba, Yanga derby
FOOTBALL fans across the country cannot wait for the intriguing derby between traditional archrivals Simba and Young Africans – a game both camps crave to win as Premier League title race enters crucial phase.
After respectively excelling in CAF Champions League and Azam Sports Federation Cup, holders yanga and Simba, will be out to make big statements in the title race on Saturday.
As derby fever rises, young Africans opted for a low-key game with Ngaya de Mde in their return leg of CAF Champions League, preliminary round tie so as to reserve energy for next Saturday’s derby match against Simba.
young Africans were the shadow of the side that cruised to an emphatic 5-1 first leg win away to the Comoro minnows in Moroni as the Mainland envoys were made to fight for a 1-all draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.
It was apparent that the Jangwani Street lads had an eye on next weekend’s potential title decider against archrivals Simba, and banking on their massive first leg win, they opted to slow their tempo on Saturday’s return fixture.
young Africans assistant coach Juma Mwambusi admitted that his side went into knowing their place into the next round was secure and looked beyond that as a crucial showdown with their title-rival Simba beckons.
Mwambusi said it was important for them to avoid injuries and reserve energy ahead of the crucial game against the Reds at the National Stadium. “We didn’t need to use a lot of energy while we’re certain of qualification into the next round; the most important thing for us was to avoid injuries.
We need to be in the best shape possible for the game against Simba. “It is a very important game for us and we must win it,” said Mwambusi, whose side are expected to cross the Ocean to Pemba Island for residential camping in preparation for the highly-anticipated derby clash. Simba lead the title race on 51 points from 22 outings, two points ahead of yanga, who however, have a game in hand. Whoever wins will take control of the title race.
In preparation for Saturday’s encounter, Simba, who booked a Federation Cup quarterfinal berth with a 1-0 over African Lyon last Thursday, instantly moved to the spicy Island of Zanzibar, their common hunting ground for the derby match.
Simba head coach, Joseph Omog sees the game as a must-win for his side, as he bids to end a four-year title drought at the Msimbazi Street.
The Cameroonian guided Azam to their maiden league title three in 2014 and will be eager to lift the title with the Reds to enter the country’s history books as a foreign coach who clinched the coveted domestic title with two different clubs.
The Simba-yanga derby is the most intense, not only in Tanzania but in neighbouring countries as well and while Saturday’s clash have a direct impact on the sides’ title chances, for most it’s a question of local pride. It’s a rivalry that gives the winner pride for the whole year, keep the smile on their fans’ faces and give them a chance to mock their rival.