Simba roar to regain pilot seat

SIMBA gallantly regained a Premier League pilot seat following a 2-0 victory over Ndanda FC in Mtwara yesterday. The win helped the Msimbazi Street side to move to summit, maintaining a two-point gap over archrivals Young Africans.

Stunning second half goals from midfield stars, Mzamiru Yassin and Mohamed Ibrahim, sealed a perfect win for Joseph Omog's title-chasing side at Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium in Mtwara region. Simba responded to Yanga's win a day earlier to regain their spot at the top, taking their tally to 38 points from 16 games.

Yanga have managed 36 points from 16 outings, while Azam, who played out a goalless draw with African Lyon yesterday, remained third placed with 26 points. The win ended a bad run that saw the league leaders lose two first round closing matches, which saw their lead at the top cut from eight points to two.

Despite the win, Simba were not in the type of form they have displayed for most of this campaign, but the team's Cameroonian coach Omog and their fans would just be pleased they got the job done.

New signings; Ghanaian goalkeeper Daniel Agyei and his compatriot James Kotei made their debut, but the latter lasted only a few minutes after picking up a knee injury and was replaced by Mzamiru Yassin. The mid-season break appeared to affect both sides as the game was played at a low tempo in the first half, with hosts Ndanda slightly looking superior.

Ndanda's in-form striker Rifat Hamis almost grabbed the opener for his team in the 11th minute following a rare blunder by defender Method Mwanjali, but goalkeeper Agyei reacted swiftly and cleared the danger.

There were a few and far between goal scoring opportunities between the two sides in the opening exchanges as hosts Ndanda continued to slightly edge the proceedings. Simba appeared to be off pace, losing most fifty-fifty duels and often struggled to keep the ball.

Ndanda went close again in the 22nd minute when Hamis raced past Simba's Congolese fullback Besala Bokungu before unleashing a powerful low drive from a tight angle, but Agyei blocked it for a futile corner. Moments later Ndanda waged another attack and Omary Mponda drew a fine save from Agyei.

Simba fashioned out a rare attack in the 27th minute whereas Mo Ibrahim fired a stunning shot that was deflected wide for an abortive corner.

Simba were slowly asserting their dominancy in the game and had the chance to break the deadlock when Ajib was released inside the box but the striker took a tame shot that was easily collected by keeper Jeremiah Kisubi. Ajib attempted a decent free-kick that flew narrowly wide on the stroke of half time.

The two teams headed for the breather tied on a goalless draw and Simba's faithful were understandably unhappy with their team's first half showing. Simba coach Joseph Omog hugged the touchline for most of the opening half and did the same during the second, in which his team showed a lot of improvement thanks to the introduction of Said Ndemla, who replaced Ajib.

They kept the ball well and created more meaningful chances.

Mzamiru twice headed the ball just off target while Ivorian striker Fredrick Blagnon drew a fine save from Kisubi inside the opening quarter of the first half. Ibrahim produced a good work down the left flank skipping past a couple of hurdles and played in a low cross that found Kichuya inside the box but the league's top scorer could not produce good contact with the ball, managing a weak shot that was comfortably saved by Kisubi.

Source: Daily News