Simba SC 3-1 Chipukizi FC: Kagere, Miraji hand Wekundu wa Msimbazi opening win

Miraji Athumani of Simba SC.Simba SC.

Simba SC started the Mapinduzi Cup with a 3-1 win over Chipukizi FC at the Amaan Stadium on Friday in Zanzibar.

Meddie Kagere and Athumani Miraji scored the three goals for the Mainland Premier League champions while Chipukizi’s goal was scored by Suleiman Nassor.

Coach Selemani Matola composed a team of players who hardly feature in the Mainland Premier League and the Champions League in his first line up since taking charge of the team temporarily after Sven Vandenbroeck’s exit.

In goal, Beno Kakolanya was fielded while David Kameta, Kevin Moyo, Kennedy, Juma Athumani Miraji and Ian Moyo were the other players to be drafted into the first team.

Chipukizi took a surprising lead in the 36th minute courtesy of Nassor’s strike that punished Simba who had failed to capitalise on their own chances.

Kagere, who captained the side in the absence of John Bocco and assistant captain Mohamed Hussein, equalised for the Dar es Salaam side in the 44th minute. Kagere is expected to lead Simba’s striking force as Bocco will not be available since he was called up for the African Nations Championship tournament that will be held in Cameroon from January to February.

Miraji scored the second goal for Wekundu wa Msimbazi in the 52nd minute as Chipukizi visibly struggled to contain a rejuvenated Simba in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Miraji, who is said to be on his way out of the club for a loan move, scored the third in the 82nd minute as Simba were clearly determined to ensure they pick a win in their Mapinduzi Cup opener. The forward was voted the man of the match due to his exploits and was awarded Tsh200,000 for a stellar performance in Zanzibar.

The match was Simba’s first local engagement since they dispatched FC Platinum of Zimbabwe 4-0 in the Caf Champions League second preliminary round.

The victory saw them book a place in the group stage and will face the Democratic Republic of Congo’s AS Vita, Al Ahly of Egypt and El-Merreik of Sudan in Group A.

Simba are the only East African club in the group stage of the continent’s premier club competition after Vipers SC of Uganda and Kenya’s Gor Mahia were eliminated in the first and the second preliminary rounds respectively.