Birmingham City FC to Visit Tanzania

ENGLISH Carling Cup Champions, Birmingham City officials are expected in the country on May 16, to inspect facilities ahead of the friendly match with Tanzania soccer giants, Simba and Yanga in July.

City defeated Arsenal 2-1 at the Wembley Stadium in London on February 27, to lift the Carling Cup trophy.

Simba SC Chairman, Ismail Aden Rage told reporters on Monday that the officials, First Team coach Andy Walson and Chief Medical Officer, Ian McGuiness will inspect the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, which will host the matches and Movenpick Hotel where the English Premier League side will reside.

“We agreed to accommodate them at a five star hotel and the pitch should be of international standards which we have, they will inspect to see if the facilities suit their wishes,” said Rage. Simba will face City which comes from the UK second biggest city of Birmingham on July 7, before the visitors face Yanga the following day.

Birmingham City have agreed to visit Tanzania after the club agreed terms with the Sports and Legal (S & L) Ltd, who are organising the trip as they Birmingham will be paid about $ 1.2 million . Moreover, Rage said the team is expected to be accompanied by at least 1,000 supporters to cheer them during the pre-season trip.

Birmingham, who are coached by Scot Alex McLeish will also visit the world famous Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti national parks, which are among the major tourist attractions in the country. Among the basic conditions sought by Birmingham were five star accommodations, with 24 hour security a priority. They also asked to be supplied with an ultra-modern practice arena.

The Birmingham city squad boasts of former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb, Nigerian hit man Obafemi Martins, English midfielder Lee Bowyer, giant Serb Nicola Zigic and former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster among others.

This will not be the first time an English Premier League club will be visiting Tanzania as Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion toured in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Simba SC annual general meeting will be held on May 13 at the Police Officers Mess in the city whereas renting of the club’s building contract will be among the top agendas. Rage said they will inform the members on the new system of their club house whereas tenants will be paying per year, instead of the current four-year system.

Moreover, the newly recruited coach, Uganda Cranes assistant tactician Moses Basena left the country yesterday and he will return on May 9 to take up his new assignment. Rage said the former Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Basena, has gone home on a short break after finalizing contact and other logistic agreements.

Simba, appointed Basena last week to replace Zambian Patrick Phiri, whose contract with the club ended recently after the club failed to defend the title, which was won by arch rivals Yanga.

In another development, Rage said the Msimbazi Street club has finalised procedures to send star Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi to South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs for trials.