AZAM Head Coach Aristica Cioaba said his side will come back strongly in the upcoming Vodacom Premier League (VPL) matches as they are still active title contenders despite being held by Simba to a barren draw on Saturday at their Chamazi Complex in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking after the clash, Cioaba said it was a fair- play game and their opponents were sharp in the first half of the match.
“I tried to make some tactical changes in the second half, but unfortunately none of them worked,” he unveiled.
The Croatian said their former skipper, John Bocco gave his side problems as he knows the pitch well together with Aishi Manula and Erasto Nyoni, but their discipline worked better for them in the end. “Our opponents (Simba) dominated us in the opening half and we came back a transformed side in the second segment.
Sometimes I become nervous with decisions made by referees but I am not in position to judge whether today’s (Saturday) refereeing was best or not. The best thing for us is to continue playing as a team for the remainder of the season,” Cioaba said.
On his side Simba Assistant Coach, Jackson Mayanja said the match was fantastic and that they eagerly wanted the three points, unfortunately their expectations were contrary to the final results. “The referee was good and controlled well the match which was not easy at all.”
However Mayanja said their plans now are to win the upcoming games and consequently be crowned the champions of Vodacom Premier League (VPL).
Commenting on the pitch which was previously criticized for being small by sports analysts, Mayanja simply described it as ‘excellent’ especially considering the fact that it was cleared by the continental football body (CAF) to stage international matches.
Quizzed whether the absence of Emmanuel Okwi partly contributed to their draw, Joseph Omog’s righthand man said currently, Simba have a broad squad such that when some key members are missing, it becomes an opportunity for others to steal the game.
In his words, Simba’ defender Erasto Nyoni said the game was tough such that a draw was fair results other than losing while Azam skipper Himid Mao lauded his team’s performance even though they squandered countless scoring opportunities.
In the last 16 VPL matches between Azam and Simba, the ice-cream makers have won four of them against seven wins registered by the Msimbazi giants with four meetings ending in draw.