Tanzanian giants Simba SC are expected to resume training today, as the Mainland Premier League is one step closer to returning to action this season.
President John Magufuli picked June 1st this year as the official date to resume all sport activities in the country, while insisting that engaging in sports is a reliable preventive method to fight against diseases including the coronavirus.
The leagues which have been cleared so far are the Mainland Premier League, Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC), First Division League (FDL) and Second Division League (SDL) respectively, while other competitions are still on pause until further notice.
Since the announcement was made, several clubs have been making logistics to return to train- ing while waiting for the official league restart date and fixture schedule.
Last Saturday, Simba’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Senzo Mazingisa said the club is ready and excited ahead of the league restart. He said the team will resume training today.
Speaking live through Simba youtube channel, Mazingisa said; “Most of you must be familiar that football will return from June 1st this year as announced by the government.
We have been in the dark since the suspension of sports activities some eight weeks ago… we could not move but things are opening up.
“We had one or two ses- sions with the team and things have continued well on the back- ground.
We met with the technical team this week, so the plan is that after Eid celebrations the squad will resume training on Wednesday (today), by that time, we expect that most of our players will be there and most of the directives from the football and health authorities as well as the govern- ment will be in place on what is needed to be done,” he said.
Highlighting on the absence of four foreign players, who left the country mid- March this year to join their respective national teams for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers matches before it was suspended by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) due to Coronavirus pandemic, Mazingisa said the club is making efforts for them to jet back.
He mentioned the players as Francis Kahata (Kenya), Med- die Kagere (Rwanda), Sharraf Shiboub (Sudan) and Clatous Chama of Zambia “Most of our players left the country to join their respec-tive national teams but out of the four players, who are outside the country, one of them will be back in the country by Monday (yesterday),” he said, without naming the player.
And, report suggests that the said player is key and deadly striker Kagere, who is reportedly to have travelled by car from Kigali to Mwanza, where he was due to take a flight to Dar es Salaam yesterday.
“Since the time of the lock- down our players have been keeping fit and have been keeping themselves busy. And, in the last three weeks we have been in contact with all of our players. It is also not clear which mode of training the Msimbazi based club will follow.
With an exception of German’s Bundes- liga, which has resumed, most clubs in Europe have resumed training in small groups, while all clubs will have to wait for contact training to get approval; It is a step in the right direction for a possible restart to league play.
Providing feedback and update of what is happening at the club, Mazingisa said Simba is ready and excited ahead of the league restart.
“We are taking it very seri-ously so as to compete effectively in the remaining league matches so that we win the third league title on the trot,” he said.
Already, the government has selected Dar es Salaam and Mwanza venues as the two cen tres of the remaining matches of the three football leagues, whose official date to resume is from June 1st this year.
“In Dar es Salaam, we have picked three venues which are Azam Complex, Uhuru Stadium and the National Stadium to be used by teams, which trade in the top flight and ASFC only.
“In Mwanza, CCM Kirumba Stadium and Nyamagana Stadium will host FDL and SDL games only,” said Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe.
When the league was sus- pended mid-March this year, Simba were top of the table on 71 points from 2 8 matches, massive 17 points ahead of second placed Azam FC from same number of matches and 2 0 points ahead of third placed Y oung Africans, who have played 2 7 matches.