DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, January 25 – Having watched Bandari play in their 1-0 win over Singida United on Tuesday, Simba SC head coach Patrick Aussems expects a tougher tie compared to their game against AFC Leopards when the two sides clash in the semi-final of the SportPesa Cup on Friday evening at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Aussems believes Bandari who finished second in last season’s Kenyan Premier League are tactically and technically superior than Leopards, but believes they will be able to overcome the Kenyan side and progress to their second consecutive final.
“I saw them (Bandari) play and I think they are on a higher level than Leopards and now we will also have to raise our level. We know that some good clubs are out and we will do our best to keep the cup here in Tanzania,” the Belgian said.
Simba beat Leopards 2-1 in the first round tie on Wednesday with Aussems heavily rotating his squad having come off a tough outing away in the CAF Champions League against DR Congo’s AS Vita in Lubumbashi where they lost massively 5-0.
Looking back at that AFC game, the tactician said he was pleased with only 60 minutes of the game and says they ‘played nothing’ after conceding from Vincent Oburu’s goal.
“We had a tough game last weekend in Congo and we had to play all players 45 minutes each. I have a group of 22 players at my disposal and we try to balance the squad as well. The first 60 minutes was good but after conceding a stupid goal, we didn’t play much after that,” the coach said.
He added; “We played AFC a few weeks ago here and we played them again in the first round of this competition and I think they made a good performance, sometimes it’s not easy when you play a team twice and I think they have improved since last game we played against them.”
Aussems said he had to give each player who had a big role to play in Lubumbashi at least 45 minutes but he expects them to be fresher against Bandari after having longer rest.
But still, the French tactician says despite the fact that he wants his side to win the tournament, his biggest target is to prepare for their third Champions League group stage match against Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
“We have come into this tournament with an objective to win it. But I will be honest the biggest thing for me is the game against Al Ahly. This game will help me prepare for Al Ahly. It is good because sometimes apart from training, you need some competitive matches to help you prepare,” he noted.
Simba are looking to become the first Tanzanian team to win the competition and are now Tanzania’s biggest hopes with giants Yanga having been eliminated by Kariobangi Sharks.
With defending champions Gor Mahia also eliminated from the competition, Aussems says they have a huge chance of seeing the title remain in Tanzania and earn the right to host English Premier League side Everton FC for their first pre-season engagement for the 2019/2020 season in July.
Simba expect their good run at the National Stadium to continue against Bandari with at some point club spokesperson Hajji Manara declaring that not even Barcelona can beat them at Taifa.
Simba has won two massive games at the stadium, a 3-1 victory over Nkana in the first round of the Champions League earning them a slot in the group stages while their last major engagement at the iconic stadium was a 3-0 beating of Algerian outfit JS Saoura in their first group stage match.