Simba SC Belgian coach Patrick Aussems says they have become the face of East African football after reaching this season's Caf Champions League last eight.
The Tanzanians stunned Congolese giants AS Vita 2-1 at home in Dar-es-Salaam on Saturday to storm into the quarter-finals as the only East African team to reach that stage this season.
After losing by identical 5-0 margins to Al Ahly and AS Vita, both matches away from home during the course of the group phase, Simba appeared headed for the exit door.
But Aussems’ men picked themselves up by winning all their home games to claim a spot in the last eight.
“It is not historical for me but for the club Simba, for Tanzania and even for East Africa. It is something great. Now we can talk about football in East Africa thanks to Simba,” Aussems said.
“And you know that the target was to reach the group stage and I said it before that this group will be open and you saw the result.
“Can you imagine we are a team that lost 5-0 two times away? It’s wonderful, that is football. So now we will not stop. Quarter-final is there and we will do everything we can to try and go as far as possible.”
Simba’s last furthest run in this tournament was a quarter-final appearance in 1994 when they were eliminated by Zambian giants Nkana.
Their best effort, however, was reaching the 1974 semi-finals when the competition was then known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
Aussems and his men will now wait to know their quarter-final opponents at Wednesday’s draw. Having finished as runners-up, Simba will be in the same pot as other teams that finished second in their respective groups.
Group winners will be in their own pot as seeded teams to be paired with runners-up.