Dar es Salaam. A second half goal by Emmanuel Okwi rescued Mainland giants Simba from the jaws of defeat as they battled to a 1-1 draw with Ghana’s Asante Kotoko yesterday.
The Ugandan striker beat goalkeeper Felix Annan with a sizzling shot off a Shiza Kichuya pass in a high-profile friendly match at the National Stadium.
Kotoko, who have won the Caf Champions League twice, had gone one up in 44the minute through Obed Owusu for a 1-0 half time lead.
Owusu capitalised on defensive lapses to unleash a close range shot that gave goalkeeper Aishi Manula no chance.
The Msimbazi Reds, needing a win to give their fans an ideal Simba Day gift, made a bright start but had trouble in breaking down the visitors’ defence.
They fluffed a number of clear chances in the first half, the culprits being Emmanuel Okwi, Shiza Kichuya and Meddie Kagere.
Five minutes into the game, Kotoko goalkeeper Felix Annan made was forced to dive full length to clear a goal-bound shot by Okwi.
Another chance for the Msimbazi Reds to break the stalemate came two minutes later when Kagere’s shot went a few centimetres wide.
After a wobbly start, Kotoko missed what could have been the match-opener in the 31st minute when Songne Yocouba broke through, only to see his shot go wide.
Simba, who enjoyed the lion’s share of the game, were awarded a penalty in the 86th, but Adam Salamba’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Annan.
Simba; Aishi Manula, Shomari Kapombe/Nicholas Gyn, Asante Kwasi, Pascal Wawa,Erasto Nyoni, Jonas Mkude, Chama Chota, James Kotei, Meddie Kagere, Emmanuel Okwi and Shiza Kichuya
Asante Kotoko: Felix Annan, Amo Frimpong, Augustine Sefah, Agyman Badu, Wagad Adams, Douglas Owusu, Jordan Apoku, Prince Acquah, Michael Yeboah, Songne Yocouba and Ibrahim Osman