Barbara Gonzalez has hailed Simba SC for writing a new chapter in the club's history after beating Plateau United in the Caf Champions League first leg match played in Abuja on Sunday.
The Tanzanian giants took advantage heading into the return leg of the fixtures at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday after Zambian midfielder Clatous Chama scored the all-important goal in the second half.
The club CEO Barbara Gonzalez has now hailed the players and the team’s technical bench for winning the away clash in Nigeria, where he said it is always difficult to come out with a win when playing teams like Enyimba, who are among the heavyweights in African football and rated among the favourites in Champions League football.
“Therefore, beating Plateau United before their home supporters is a big achievement,” Gonzalez said as quoted by Daily News. “We call upon our home supporters to pray for the club and show up in big numbers come this Saturday in a second return leg so that we go through to face Platinum FC of Zimbabwe.”
Gonzalez was, however, not happy with the African body and Nigeria Football Association (NFF) after they allowed a sub-standard stadium to host the first leg match.
“I think there are things to consider [Caf infrastructure check-list] as to why the stadium was sanctioned to host the match while it does not meet the required licensing standards.”
Simba are set to return to Dar es Salaam on Tuesday with their eyes now on the return leg, where they will need a draw of any kind to progress to the next stage.
Simba coach Sven Vandenbroeck has, however, warned that the tie is not over yet and that they must stay focused to complete the job.
“It was a tough game, against a very strong opponent who tried all tricks technically to find a goal but I congratulate my players because all 90 minutes were running to prevent them from scoring,” Vandenbroeck is quoted by the club’s social media after the match.
“I think we need to be very happy with the victory, it is a very great result [considering we won away from home] but we still haven't finished the job yet, because next week we have 90 minutes.”
With the away goal, Simba will also have another added advantage as the Confederation of African Football (Caf) allowed their fans to attend the match after Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) requested for the same.
Last season, Simba failed to make it past the preliminary stage after losing on the away goals rule to UD Songo of Mozambique. The two sides had battled to a 0-0 draw in Mozambique and in the return leg played in Dar es Salaam, it ended 1-1, meaning Songo advanced on the away goals rule.
Whereas in the 2018/19 season they managed to reach the quarter-finals, and it was in 1974 when Simba managed to get into the semi-finals but were knocked out by Egyptian side Ghazl El Mahalla.