Dar es Salaam. Seasoned football coaches have advised Simba SC to fix their defensive frailties ahead of the first leg of the African Champions League groups’ stage match against JS Saoura of Algeria.
The match, which Simba are hard-pressed to win, will be played on Saturday at the 60,000-seater National Stadium.
Speaking with The Citizen yesterday, Mshindo Msolla and Abdallah Kibadeni said Simba have a good team, but their back line is fragile when under pressure. According to Kibadeni, one of the team’s legendary players, said Simba boast good midfielders and attackers, but have been conceding many goals because of their disorganised defenders.
He said the absence of Erasto Nyoni was a huge blow for the Msimbazi Street giants, who are keen on making another history in the African premier club championship. Ugandan defender Juuko Murshid is fit for a starting place, but he has fallen down the pecking order of the Belgian tactician, Patrick Aussems.
“They have brilliant midfielders and strikers. They create many chances and score goals, but their Achilles’ heel is porous defensive line because they concede many goals. They really have to fix this area before embarking on the group stage matches,” Kibadeni said.
Should Aussems fail to reorganise his defenders, they face a humiliation, considering that they will be facing Arab teams, which have been a thorn in the flesh of Tanzanian teams for many years.
“They face a really tough time because they will be playing teams from North Africa, which are good at taking advantage of defensive lapses,” Kibadeni said.
Even so, Kibadeni, who once coached the team, exuded optimism that Simba have all it takes to qualify for the next phase of the championship.
Simba have been grouped with the likes of AQS Vita of DR Congo and Al Ahly of Egypt.
For his part, Msolla warned the Simba defenders to play cautiously during their group matches because they will be facing tough teams, most of which are attack-minded.
“They have to be focussed and aim high. They will be meeting attack-minded teams, so they have to demonstrate a high level of discipline and determination otherwise they will not go anywhere,” he said. He said the Saturday’s match is not easy for Simba even though they will be playing on their home turf.