Dar es Salaam. After much bragging by football fans, the moment of truth is here today when Simba host their traditional rivals Young Africans (Yanga) in the Mainland Tanzania Premier encounter at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
The match, which is one of Africa’s biggest derbies, has been scheduled to start from 5pm and is expected to be thrilling because of the statuses of the two teams in the league standings.
The encounter will be officiated by Arusha Region based referee Emmanuel Mwandembwa. He will be assisted by Frank Komba from Dar es Salaam and Hamdani Said from Mtwara. The reserve referee is Ramadhani Kayoko from Dar es Salaam.
So far, football fans’ pressure is mounting high ahead of the match of the titans.
As per the record, the two teams have met 107 times with Yanga winning 37 matches while Simba recording 32 victories. They have drawn 38 times.
In their last match played on November 7, last year, the two teams drew 1-1 at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, where Yanga’s goal was scored by Ghanaian striker Michael Sarpong through a penalty while Joash Onyango equalized for Simba.
Simba, who are the defending champions, are placed at the top with 61 points from 25 matches while Yanga are second with 57 points from 27 matches.
Yanga head coach Nasreddine Nabi declared that his team is ready for the derby and is optimistic about emerging victorious.
“We are in good shape ahead of the match and we believe we will record a good result, we are taking the encounter seriously as this is a derby that we are supposed to be very careful,” said Nabi.
He maintained that his players will do their best because they are aware of what their fans expect from them.
For his part, Simba assistant coach Seleman Matola said they hope to shine in the match in order to widen the point gape and later win the trophy. Matola bragged that he is proud of his squad’s recent results and believes they will continue with the same rhythm.
“We are going to search for victory and not otherwise. We are aware that Yanga are a big team, but that will not stop us from winning the encounter,” he said.