NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – Tanzanian Premier League runaway leaders Simba SC are sweating on the availability of two of their key players, Meddie Kagere and Francis Kahata, ahead of the proposed league restart next month.
The two former Gor Mahia striking stalwarts as well as Zambian Clatous Chama and Sudanese midfielder Eldin Shaiboub returned to their respective countries after the Tanzanian league was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli announced that he will allow sports to resume from June 1 and the league management has already started plans to draft the fixtures for the rest of the season.
But, Simba risk being without Kagere and Kahata with Rwanda and Kenya having set up tough border rules.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta last week announced the cessation of movement in and out of Kenya-Tanzania border (Namanga and Isibania) as well as the Kenya-Somali boarders.
On top of that, the Kenyan President extended the cessation of movement in and out of the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi for another 21 days until June 6. This means Kahata will not be available until the cessation of moment is lifted.
“I have talked to the club’s management as late as yesterday (Thursday) and I told them the situation here. I have also had a chat with Meddie (Kagere) and he told me it is the same in Rwanda as well so for us, it is going to be difficult to travel to Tanzania for the restart, until at least June 6 when we know the way forward,” Kahata told Capital Sport.
The midfielder also stated that he is ready to fly back or even travel by road to Tanzania once the border is opened, but only if he is assured of his health safety at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is hitting sky figures in the region.
“I know for Simba it might be easy to manage the situation because we have a club house and we might all stay there as a team in a camp-like set up. But to be honest, I am a bit scared because I have a family and with all the travelling, I wouldn’t want to be back transmitting the virus to them,” the Harambee Stars creative midfielder stated.
“But I got assurances from the CEO that everything will be worked on. There is no real big pressure at the moment because we are leading with a good margin and a win in the next four matches will see us champions.”
Simba lead the Tanzanian top tier standings with 71 points, 17 ahead of second placed Azam FC and 20 infront of arch rivals Yanga, with 10 rounds of matches remaining. They only need to win four matches and draw one to attain an unassailable lead in the standings and be declared champions.
Kagere hopes that he can be part of at least the last few matches, now that it looks highly unlikely he will be part of the restart on June 1.
“It is such a good feeling to win a league title in a second different country. It is such a huge thing in Tanzania and the fans really take it seriously and I would want to be part of that carnival and celebration. Hopefully, even if I don’t get to play the first few matches, I can be part towards the end and lift the trophy with the team,” the midfielder added.
Kahata has scored six goals and provided an equal number of assists for Simba since joining from Gor Mahia at the start of the current season.
He has grown on to become an integral part of Wekundu wa Msimbazi, forming a neat partnership with Kagere with whom they caused terror in the Kenyan league while they played together at Gor.