Close to a week before Tanzanian giants Simba SC play host to 11-time African champions Al Ahly in the first leg of the African Football League (AFL) quarter finals, the streets of Dar es Salaam are buzzing and the town is slowly being painted red, in anticipation of the massive duel.
The historic match will be played at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in the capital Dar, with Simba confident they can put up a massive fight against the Egyptian giants, and their fans are equally confident that they have what it takes to win at home.
“It is a great opportunity for the club to show itself to the rest of the continent and also to be known worldwide,” Hassan Bakari, who has been a Simba fan since he was 11 said ahead of the opening game.
He added; “It is a matter of great pride for Simba to be among the eight teams to play in this tournament. There definitely must have been something that attracted them to us and we want to show it on the field. As fans we are ready and excited because this means so much for Simba.”
His sentiments are shared by fellow fan Mohamed Hamisi who says their ambition is to fill the 60,000 seater stadium on October 20, when they play the first leg.
“We have shown that we are passionate whenever we play in Continental football and it was seen last season in the Champions League. We want to rally all fans to turn out in large numbers and come give the team all the support,” said Hamisi.
He added; “We have very good quality in the team and we have been successful the last few years. We want to continue in this success and it would mean so much for the club if we did well in the AFL. We want to make history. Simba is known for making history.”
Simba had considerable success in the Champions League last season where they reached the quarter finals and only lost on penalties to eventual finalists Wyadad Athletic.
This season they have had a good start to the campaign, winning five matches on the trot and progressing to the group stages of the Champions League on the away goal rule against Zambian giants Power Dynamos.
The fans are hungry for success, and the AFL is another opportunity they are optimistic their team will deliver success from.