Simba are champs

Simba`s Zambian coach Patrick Phiri is carried shoulder high by ecstatic players at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam after winning the Mainland premier soccer league title yesterday.

Mike Barasa’s double over Azam FC put Simba’s Mainland premiership title campaign beyond the reach of the rest of the eleven teams at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

The Kenyan import Barasa, who crossed to Simba from rivals Young Africans through midseason transfer window at the end of November last year, strike twice in each half to justify his competence.

His first came barely eight minutes after the kick off to bring a much needed composure for Simba fans who turned up at the Stadium in multitude.

Barasa was again on target after 62 minutes to bring the match beyond reach of Azam FC who tried their best to search for an elusive opener.

With two matches to spare in the league fixture, Simba have attained unassailable 56 points to win the much awaited podium finish by their fans, coach and players alike.

The Msimbazi Street-based top flight side became the first team to win the new-formatted premier league without losing a match so far.

Unbeaten in 20 appearances, Simba look forward to their penultimate round match on April 11 as a formality, while pride and supremacy would be the strong billboards ahead of the clash.

It was a closely contested encounter during the first half with each side playing aggressively but Simba had an edge over the ice cream makers following Barasa’s classic opener.

As usual, John Boko has been Azam’s striking vulture when he kept prowling around Simba’s defence constantly yet menacingly.

Boko came close to pull an equaliser with ten minutes to half time mark but his blockbuster sailed over the cross bar.

Simba progressed into the dressing rooms with a single goal lead as their fans kept fingers crossed awaiting for the outcome of the match in the other half.

The second half kicked off with each side spearheading attacks against the other in one of the highly thrilling premiership encounters.

Simba’s dead ball specialist Mohamed Banka had his power-packed goal-bound shot hit a crossbar before bouncing into the ground after 60 minutes.

Azam’s striker Boko responded with an attack just a minute later but Simba defenders foiled the attack.

Mike Barasa rounded off Azam defenders before releasing a shot past stunned Azam’s Burundi import goalie Vladmir Niyonkuru after 62 minutes..

Simba fans who thronged the stadium in big crowd started to cheer while chanting “Simba Bingwa” (Simba are champions) as the match was coming close to an end.

Line-ups:

Simba:

Juma Kaseja, Juma Nyoso, Juma Jabu, Kelvin Yondani, Mohamed Banka, Haruna Shamte, Mike Barasa/Mohamed Kijuso, Hilary Echesa, Ramadhan Chombo/Jerry Santo, Musa Hassan and Ulimboka Mwakingwe.

Coach: Patrick Phiri

Azam FC:

Vladmir Niyonkuru, Malika Ndeule/Mau Bofu, Ibrahim Shikanda, Louis Tumba Sued, Salum Swedi, Shaaban Kisinga, Said Sued/Ali Manzi, John Boko, Himid Mao, Salum Aboubakar, Dan Wagaluka/Suleiman Kassim

Coach: Itamar Amorim

Referee: Ibrahim Kidiwa

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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