Tanzania: Simba, Mo Meet Over 20 Billion/ – Bid

A day after Simba members endorsed managerial restructuring at the club, businessman Mohamed Dewji has officially tabled his 20bn/- take over bid. The club leadership has agreed to meet him and discuss the matter.

Dewji, alias 'Mo', wants to own 51 per cent of the club shares, which will make him majority shareholder, while the remaining 49 per cent of the stakes will be owned by other club members. The changes will make Simba the first club in the country and perhaps in the region to transform from members to corporate club ownership.

"The first thing I did this morning (yesterday) was to write an official letter and submit it the club leadership," Dewji said, adding that in his letter, he clearly expressed his intention to take over 51 per cent shares of the club for 20bn/-. Dewji said, if the club approves his offer, a special account will be opened and the 20bn/- will be deposited, in which after five years, it will generate an interest of 3.5bn/-.

This interest rate will represent an increase of 17.5 per cent of the initial seed money. At a press conference held in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Dewji said he wants the process fast tracked, suggesting a three months period if possible for the deal to be concluded.

However, the president of Mohamed Enterprises Limited (MeTL) expressed fears that some club leaders were against the changes. "It was unfortunate that the club's President Evance Aveva told a members' meeting that I've never approached the leadership over this deal and that they only hear the wind of my views through the media.

The correct version is that I met Aveva at least three times to discuss this matter," he said.

"However, it is true that I did not put it in writing because I wanted members to approve the change of club managerial structure first before I officially tabled the bid. I'm pleased that members have voted for changes and I really appreciate them," he said.

Simba leadership immediately responded yesterday, asking the former main club sponsor to attend the Executive Committee meeting on August 15th this year, to critically discuss the matter.

A statement released yesterday by Simba Secretary General, Patrick Kahemele, said that they have decided to set a meeting with Dewji on that date because at the moment the leadership was tied with busy schedules, including organising annual 'Simba Week' and ongoing player's registration exercise.

In his letter to 'Mo' Dewji, the secretary general pointed out that the club's executive committee under Aveva felt it was wise to give Dewji a special privilege to express the kind of investments he wants to make at the club.

In a topsy-turvy general meeting held at the Police Officers Mess Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, President Aveva announced that the club will go for changes but insisted that the changes will take time because proper procedures must be followed to attain them.

In a meeting held under tight security, the majority members insisted that Dewji be allowed to own 51 per cent shares so that he can bring changes and will help the club gain its glorious past.

Dewji expressed his intention to transform the Msimbazi Street team into a mega rich club in Africa, by bringing in top quality players, investing heavily in infrastructures and youth development programmes.

Outlining his plans to make massive transformation, if he wins his 20bn/- bid to take 51 per cent stake, Dewji said he will also enable all long time members of the club to own a specific amount of shares free of charge and the members will be free to either sell or acquire more stakes at their club. He further said that he is determined to raise the club's budget from the current meagre 1.2bn/- to massive 5.5bn/- each season, which he said; it will transform the club's fortunes both financially and at the competition level.

Breaking down the figures, Dewji said a sum of 4bn/- will be spent on running the club matters, including signing new top quality players, paying salaries and other logistics, while the remaining 1.5bn/- will be invested in infrastructure--especially training ground at Bunju, in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam and running youth development programmes.

He said the club will spend a sum of 5bn/- to set up a modern stadium in Bunju within three years after taking over as majority shareholder of the club. Dewji, who sponsored Simba from 1999 to 2005, said his vision is to see the club thrive and compete with the continental elites.

"I want to see Simba win CAF Champions League title," Dewji, who was at the top of things when the club dismissed the then African Champions, Zamalek of Egypt, to make it into the group stage of the Champions League in 2003.

Source: Tanzania Daily News