Dar es Salaam. Simba SC will officially get back to international football today when they take on a Djibouti side, Gendarmerie Nationale FC, at the National Stadium.
The Msimbazi Street giants compete in the Caf Confederation Cup, a caf-organised competition, for the first in five years.
Simba last featured in a Caf competition in 2012 when they crashed out at the hands of Al Ahly Shendi of Sudan in 9-8 shootouts.
Simba had won the first leg 3-0 in Dar es Salaam and hopes were high that they would progress to the next round, but the Sudanese side reversed the score at their home turf.
The match will kick off at 4pm and will be officiated by South Sudan referee Alier Michael James. He will be assisted by his countrymen Abdalla Suleiman Gassim and Gasim Madir Dehiya.
This being their first match in Caf competitions 2012, excited Simba fans are expected to fill the 60,000-seater stadium.
On paper, this match seems like a walk in the park for Simba considering history of teams from Djibouti.
Simba’s recent form also makes their fans believe that their team will record a convincing win ahead of the second leg encounter.
They top the Vodacom Premier League with 41 points, seven points adrift of their closest challengers and defending champions, Young Africans.
Maosud Djuma, Simba’s assistant head coach, harbours hopes that their team would post a comprehensive victory and put one leg in the next phase of the Africa’s second tier competition.
“Considering our form, I believe that we will record a big win. We will certainly be attack-minded because we don’t want to lose or draw at home,” he said.
He added: “People may be underrating the Djibouti side, but we aren’t. We have learnt from our past mistakes, so we will approach the match aggressively with a view to winning convincingly.”
The team striking force will be led by Ugandan Emmanuel Okwi, who has so far scored 13 goals in the Premier League.
Simba will also have John Bocco who has nine goals this season while fast-paced Shiza Kichuya (six goals) will also be in the frontline.
The winner of the match will play either El Masry of Egypt or Green Buffaloes of Zambia in the first round. In Zanzibar, Zimaoto FC will play Wolaitta Dicha of Ethiopia in the same competition.