Zanzibar. A familiar feeling rained down on Mainland giants Simba at the Amaan Stadium yesterday as the Msimbazi Reds crashed out of the Mapinduzi Cup after going down 1-0 to Uganda’s URA.
One could be forgiven for thinking Simba might have learned some lessons from their defeat to defending champions Azam FC in their third Group A match on Saturday, but it would appear not.
They fell to a 1-0 defeat against the ice cream makers, leaving their interim head coach, Burundian Masoud Djumamanager frustrated with the his team’s inept finishing
The same mistakes were made against URA yesterday. They fluffed many scoring chances, especially in the first half, the culprit being John Bocco.
In the 30th minute, with only goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian to beat, saw his header cleared by the goalie after he was set up by Asante Kwasi.
Another chance for Simba to score came in the 72nd minute when Nafian dived full length to clear a sizzling shot by Bocco as the Msimbazi Reds pressed for an equaliser.
Deep into injury time, Bocco reacted swiftly to a Said Ndemla cross but his header was parried off by the URA goalkeeper for an abortive corner.
Following the hard-earned win, URA have joined Azam FC in the semifinals from Group A.
A goal by Deboss Kalama in the 45th minute is all the Ugandan giants needed to sail through and send pre-tournament favourites Simba packing.
URA, the only foreign team in the championship, finished top of the group with 10 points from four games, one point ahead of second-placed Azam FC.
Simba, leadership reportedly spent Sh1.3 billion on bolstering the Msimbazi Street club’s squad ahead of this year’s domestic and international competitions, including the Mainland Premier League.
They will also represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Their elimination in the Mapinduizi Cup comes at a time when their supporters are still striving to come to terms with their early exit in the Azam HD Federation Cup.
Against all predictions, Simba were bundled out of the tournament popularly known as FA Cup on penalties by a second division team, Green Warriors, a few days ago.
This forced the Msimbazi street club’s leadership to terminate a contract with their Cameroonian tactician, Joseph Omog.
URA head coach Nkata Paul showered praise on his players after the victory.
He expressed optimism that they would maintain their winning run in their semifinal clash against Young Africans or Singida United. The semifinals start tomorrow.
id they played under pressure because Simba is among the top team in East African region and needed just a victory in order to book space in the next stage.
“Our task was to counter Simba in the encounter and stop them to score while finding victor, we had that strategies and managed to achieve our goal, our target is to win the title and battlefield is still going on,” said Paul.