Dar es Salaam. Mainland giants Simba have welcomed back to training injured stars ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup clash against Al Masry of Egypt.
The players include team captain John Bocco and ace striker Emmanuel Okwi, who completed a light training session yesterday for today’s first round, first leg of the continental tournament at the National Stadium. Defender Salum Mbonde, who has not featured for Simba for nearly three months due a knee injury, has also shrugged off the injury, according to the Msimbazi Reds’ physician, Yassin Gembe
The trio trained along with the other players who featured for Simba in last week’s Mainland Premier League match against Stand United at the National Stadium.
Their absence was highly felt in Friday’s game as, against all predictions, Simba were forced to a 3-3 draw by relegation haunted Stand United.
Ahead of today’s clash, Simba head coach Pierre Lechantre is much aware of the depth of the Al Masry squad, and has called for a cautious approach.
“They are a good team. We have seen some clips of their games, and they play well, so we expect a tough game,” the coach said yesterday.
“We need to be very tactical and work towards victory. The first game is important for us. We have to score many goals to make the second leg a mere formality,” he added.
Al Masry have been in the country since Monday for the first round, first leg clash of the continental tournament. The match kicks off at 6pm
On his part, team captain John Bocco said they are ready for the challenge. El Masry are coached by legendary Hossam Hassan, who tasted continental glory with Cairo giants, Al Ahly and Zamalek or the Green Eagles as they are fondly called by their supporters.
Just as the preliminaries, Hassan will be banking on his Burkina Faso trio, namely defender Mohamed Koffi, strikers Issouf Ouattara and veteran Aristide Bance.
They are all influential in Al Masry’s line-up this season, complementing the efforts of the likes of left back Mohamed Hamdy, playmaker Islam Eissa and striker Ahmed Gomaa.
“We respect Simba, and will do our best against them. I believe we can qualify to the next round,” said Hassan.
The return leg will take place in Port Said, about 200-kilometres from the Egyptian capital, Cairo on March 17, with the aggregate winner qualifying to the second round.