Phiri confident of ousting Mazembe

After crossing the first round hurdle, Simba’s Zambian coach Patrick Phiri  says his boys are capable to dispatch reigning African club champions TP Mazembe in the second round matches next month.

Simba will have to travel all the way to Lubumbashi on the weekend falling between March 11 and 13 for the first leg match against the continental champions for the second year running.
Simba overwhelmed Elan de Mitsoudje from Comoro 4-2 goals in the nerve-jangling return leg match played at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
Phiri says his boys have sufficient prowess to stun the African champions as long as they get adequate preparations ahead of the two matches next month.
Mazembe, who lost the FIFA World club championship final to European champions Inter Milan last year, have acquired the giant killer’s status to become the highly feared side in the continent.
The Zambian coach acknowledged the prowess of Mazembe but insisted that Simba will be the team to shatter the Congolese dream for the continental hat-trick title bid.
Despite the surprise confidence Phiri has gained after the Mitsoudje tie, he admits that the matches against Mazembe will be tough to win regardless of the venue.
Simba that reached the semi-final stage of the continental club championship in 1974 before the new tournament format was installed later, qualified for the last eight lucrative stage in 2003 after ousting Egyptian Zamalek in Cairo’s dramatic penalty shootouts.
“We have a tough match ahead but with determination and will, it’s possible we might halt TP Mazembe’s quest to continue their dominance in the continent,” said Phiri.
Simba are taking the Mainland soccer league assignments as their strong ground for preparations against the continental holders.
The match against their rivals Young Africans on March 5 is also among Simba’s highly rated preparation towards the Lubumbashi showdown.
“We must beat Yanga to board the Lubumbashi-bound flight heads high against Mazembe,” said Phiri.
He also noted that a loss to their arch-rivals would to some extent lower the players’ morale, but it’s worth taking the risk and fight back to recover.
Simba’s first choice goalkeeper Juma Kaseja said the matches against TP Mazembe will be taken as a stage to showcase players’ talents to the global stage.
Simba club’s vice-chairman Geoffrey Nyange said his team would possibly stun Mazembe as long as there are sufficient preparations as well as hand-in-glove cooperation at the clubhouse.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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