Serbian coach replaces Phiri

Serbian Milovan Cirkovic has been appointed as new Simba coach to replace Zambian Patrick Phiri, the club’s secretary general, Evodius Mtawala, announced in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Mtawala said the new coach has agreed to work for a two-year contract with the Mainland champions.

Simba have reached the decision of appointing the Serbian after a heated debate following a no show of their former coach Phiri.

The club has been in frantic efforts to have a coach at their disposal to train the team ahead of the premiership season that kicks off in three weeks time.

Simba vice chairman Geoffrey Nyange was quoted early this week as saying the Zambian coach has been violating contractual obligations for not reporting to work in time.

Nyange said Phiri’s behaviour has frustrated efforts by the club to move in parallel with training programme.

Phiri, who is at home in Lusaka, was also quoted as saying Simba officials have been misinforming the public on the actual situation linked to his absence.

The Zambian coach, who rejoined Simba at the beginning of last year, has claimed to be clearing family-related problems before flying to Dar.

Nyange had also said Simba have been fed up with Phiri’s character of reporting late whenever he travels home for either vacations or emergencies.

Appointment of the Serbian coach has therefore ruled out plans to deploy the services of Ugandan Sam Timbe, who was also lined up for the job to replace Phiri at the beginning of the week.

Phiri would linger long in the memory of both Simba fans and officials for taking the club to their exclusive, yet remarkable and exhilarating premiership title without losing a match in 22 appearances, the previous season.

Simba secretary Mtawala said Cirkovic is expected in Dar es Salaam this weekend to start his new job.

Simba have set up their training base in Zanzibar as they gear up for the charity shield clash against rivals Young Africans in two weeks time.

Simba seek to plot their second premiership soccer title in a row.

Beside the charity shield assignment, Simba would open their title retention campaign at home to African Lyon on August 21.

The arrival of Cirkovic would sum up the number of Serbian coaches among the Mainland top flight sides to two, following a contract extension by Young African’s Kostadin Papic.

For the past five years Serbian coaches have found a new sanctuary for their services into Tanzanian premier soccer clubs.

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