Simba SC have confirmed the absence of four key players when they take on Azam FC in a Mainland Premier League match on Sunday.
The Wekundu wa Msimbazi will host the ‘Ice Cream Makers’ at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium seeking to build on their 2-1 win against Dodoma Jiji three days ago.
However, the club will have to navigate the tough fixture without four of their players led by captain John Bocco, who is still struggling with an injury.
Others set to miss out are veteran defender Erasto Nyoni and Ibrahim Ame, and midfielder Jonas Mkude.
Simba media officer Haji Manara is, however, confident the team will get a positive result despite missing the four players.
“We will miss the services of Bocco, Nyoni, Ame, and Mkude but that will not stop us from beating Azam,” Manara told Goal on Sunday.
“The team has prepared well, we know what we want from Azam, we need the three points and that is what we are going for, we are sure the game will end in our favour.”
Meanwhile, Azam will miss the services of three players among them defender Yakub Mohamed who will be suspended for the tie having accumulated three yellow cards.
Others are midfielder Frank Domayo, who is suffering from a knee injury, and defender Abdul Omary Hamahama.
However, Azam will be boosted with the return of striker Prince Dube, who missed at least six matches from the first round after he picked up an injury that needed an operation in South Africa.
The Zimbabwean striker has already returned and featured in a couple of friendly matches to gauge his fitness.
In a previous interview, Azam CEO Abdulkarim Amin explained how prepared they are to face the reigning champions.
“It’s true, we are going to play a big match against Simba but we have had good preparations to make sure we get something tangible from the game,” Amin said as quoted by Daily News.
“We have played several friendly matches and lately, we had a good international friendly encounter versus TP Mazembe [1-1] which gave the coach a good test of his current squad prior to facing Simba.
“I have not said that we will win the match but rather we are going to compete and the good judge will be the normal 90 minutes of play. What is remaining now is the work rate of players and the technical bench.
“The management of the club has finished its work. The coach [George Lwandamina] requested the team to remain in Zanzibar for an extra 10 days after the Mapinduzi Cup to play friendly encounters, we conceded that.”
In last season's meetings between the two sides, Simba managed a double, winning the first round tie 1-0 win before winning the second meeting 3-2.
In short, Azam are yet to beat Simba in their last four meetings, with the last time they won being the 2018 season when they emerged 2-1 winners.