Dar es Salaam. Big guns, Simba SC and Azam FC, face off today in the final of the Mapinduzi Cup tournament at the Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar.
Different from other matches, football fans are today expected to experience something special from the country’s two major clubs that meet for the second time in the history of the competition and the second time since the start of this year.
The match will also see coaches, Pablo Franco of Simba and Abdihamid Moalin of Azam FC meet for the second time since their appointments.
Historically, the two teams met in the 2019 Mapinduzi Cup final, whereby Azam FC won 2-1. The teams also met on January 1, this year, at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium during the Mainland Tanzania Premier league match in which Simba won 2-1.
The Mapinduzi Cup final match is expected to be a thriller as Azam FC will be seeking to maintain their winning record against Simba and win the title for the sixth time while Simba target to revenge and win the title for the third time.
As Simba are yet to lose a match in the current season, Azam FC have already lost three matches under their new coach, Abdihamid Moalin, from the United States. Moalin is a former player of Horseed FC of Somalia.
The ice cream makers Azam have prepared well for the encounter and target victory against the Msimbazi Street club, Simba.
Records indicate that the two clubs have played 26 matches since 2012, 12 of which were won by Simba, while Azam won seven. The other seven games ended in draws.
Simba head coach Pablo Franco said they target victory in order to clinch the title.
“We need to do our best in the encounter, Azam FC are a strong team who also seek to revenge in the league match. My players are well-focused on the match and want to win the first title,” said Pablo. Simba will depend on their attacking midfielder Pape Ousmane Sakho who has so far shone in the competition. Azam FC head coach Moalin said his players are in high spirit to do their best against Simba.
He said although they are facing a challenging task against giants Simba SC, they hope to win the match.
“We know that Simba play their hearts out when they take on us. But, we are ready for the challenge, and we have committed players who are ready to do battle,” he said.
The winner of the match will take home Sh25 million while the loser will be awarded Sh15 million.
There will also be prize money for the best player of the tournament, best scorer and best goalkeeper.