26 October 2017 11:57
Uganda-born Emmanuel Okwi and Tanzania striker, Ibrahim Ajibu are the headline acts as Young Africans face eternal rivals Simba in the biggest game of the first round of the Tanzania Premier League on Saturday at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Simba attacker, Okwi lead the scorers chart with eight goals in the seven week old premiership, whilst Yanga top striker, Ajibu has five goals to his name.
The duo is expected to lead their sides in one of the biggest derbies in East African. Simba sit atop the standings on superior goals despite sharing 15 points with rivals Yanga and Mtibwa Sugar.
Simba head coach, Joseph Omog reckons that rivals Yanga has a good team, and is upbeat a tactical game plan will be crucial towards snatching victory.
“If we score, we have to defend it. The most important thing for us is to win, whether by one goal or more,” said Omog, the Cameroonian born, who had spells with Azam and AC Leopards of Congo.
“Yanga is a good team and they play good football. We need to be prepared enough to hold them though it won’t be easy,” he added.
Simba midfielder, Ghanaian James Kotei believes that neutralizing the Yanga midfield pair of Papy Kabamba Tshishimbi and Thaban Kamusoko, will be the decider.
“Ajibu is a good player but only when he has the ball. He won’t be of any threat to us. We need to hold Kamusoko and Tshishimbi so that Yanga cannot keep possession. If we are able to do so, we can win,” said Kotei.
On the other hand, Yanga captain, Nadir Haroub says they respect Simba because they have showed character this season, but they will hold them and win.
“Simba is a good side, they play well. This is Yanga and a big team. We will win the derby for sure,” said Haroub who joined Yanga in 2006.
“(Ibrahim) Ajibu is in good form, and it will be difficult for Simba to contain him. Wait and see, he will score for us,” he added.
Ajibu, who joined Yanga from rivals Simba, adds that such matches are difficult to predict.
“Any team can win. It is not a game to predict. I will play with all the energy to win the day for Yanga, though it won’t be easy,” he said.
Simba beat Yanga 2-1 in the last meeting between the two sides in the second round of last season. Both teams played out a 1-1 draw in the first round.
Overall, the two teams have faced each other 91 times since 1965. Yanga has been dominant winning 34 of the meetings, 25 wins for Simba and 32 ending in stalemates.