Simba flop is no surprise
The crash out six-times Kagame Cup record holders Simba at the quarter-final stage of the ongoing championship in Kigali on Monday is no surprise at all.
Since the tournament was inaugurated in 1974, Simba have never won the title outside the Tanzania territorial borders, with four out of the six wins realised at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The 1992 and 2002 victories posted in Zanzibar remain as Simba’s out of home in the history of the championship.
Winners in 1974, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2002, Simba have managed to reach the Kagame Cup (formerly the East and Central African Club championship) finals five times outside Dar es Salaam and lost.
Simba lost the quarter-final stage to hosts APR by 2-1 goals on Monday evening.
It was almost a reminiscent loss to the 2004 semi-final held at the Amahoro Stadium that saw Simba losing to the same opponents yet by exactly similar margin.
Since they last won the title in 2002, Simba have never managed to touch the silverware again for eight consecutive years later.
Simba’s last win over APR was during the 1996 final by a lone goal at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, courtesy of Bita John’s last-gasp efforts.
The army team from Rwanda have never conceded any defeat at the hands of Simba since then and the Monday’s result was almost close to prediction.
Dazzling as Simba may happen to be, the team is still searching for Kagame Cup win outside Tanzania since 1974.
In contrast to their arch-rivals Young Africans, they have twice won the title in Kampala in 1993 and 1998.
Their maiden triumph was in Zanzibar in 1975 beating Simba by 2-0 goals, courtesy of Sunday Manara and the late Gibson Sembuli.
Unlike Simba, Young Africans are still in search of Kagame Cup win in Dar es Salaam, despite coming closer during the 1986 finals when they lost to Sudanese El Mereikh on post-match penalties.
Yanga’s Muhidin Cheupe would remain as the striker who missed the crucial penalty to open the gate for El-Merreikh’s maiden win at the Uhuru Stadium.
Simba’s profligacy upfront and poor defence at the rear might be described as the major reasons for the team’s lackluster performance in Kigali, but history need to be re-assessed as well.