Dar es Salaam. Two Simba players, Emmanuel Okwi and Erasto Nyoni have returned to full fitness ahead of the tomorrow’s African Champions’ League Group D match against DR Congo’s AS Vita Club.
The return of the duo is a morale booster for the team, which is under the tutelage of Belgian Patrick Aussems, following the suspension of their Ugandan defender Juuko Murshid.
Apart from making do without the services of Murshid, the team will be without their midfielder maestro, Jonas Mkude, who is serving a one-match suspension.
Okwi, the prolific Ugandan forward, did not feature in the Simba’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of JS Saoura of Algeria last week.
Simba Sports Club physician Yassin Gembe confirmed yesterday that the two players have returned to full fitness and that the coach is free to include them in the team, which will face the Congolese outfit.
Gembe said the players have trained sucessfully at the Boko Beach Veterans ground.
“My medical examination report shows that Okwi and Nyoni have been recovered fully, so it is up to the technical bench to decide who will be in the team to play against AS Vita,” said Gembe.
Simba need victory tomorrow in order to book their place in the quarterfinal stage of the Africa’s premier club championship.
Currently, Simba sit at the bottom of the table with six points after winning two matches and losing three. JS Saoura of Algeria, who will clash with Al Ahly of Egypt tomorrow in Alexandria top the table with eight points.
The Egyptian side sits second with seven points followed by AS Vita Club with similar number of points, but the latter have an inferior goal difference.
Simba players have been urged to fight to the very end tomorrow if they want to sail through to the quarterfinals for the second time in their history.
The Msimbazi Street giants qualified to the quarterfinals for the first time in 2003 after eliminating the then defending champions, Zamalek of Egypt.
A prominent football analyst in the country, Ali Mayay, said the players should not be complacent because of playing at home, warning that AS Vita have brilliant players who can win everywhere.
“This a do-or-die match for Simba, so the players must be prepared to fight hard for a win because failure to do so, they will be automatically out of the competition. They should not underrate the Congolese team at all,” he said.
In another development: AS Vita jetted into the country yesterday ready for the Saturday encounter.
The team later trained at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana ground ahead of the match, which will be officiated by referees from Morocco, according to the African football governing body, Caf.
The centre referee will be Noureddine El Jaafari who will be assisted by Hicham Abbou and Yahya Nouali.