Simba SC defender Che Malone Fondo has warned Al Ahly that the Tanzanian giants will ‘play like men’ when the two sides clash in the opening fixture of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening.

The 24-year old Cameroonian, who joined the team at the start of the season, says the team is well prepared for the blockbuster match and says they want to give their all for victory infront of their home fans.

“The confidence is there, but football is not played in the mouth it is played on the field. We just need to prepare for a big and difficult game. We need to give our all to be victorious. If we play like children, we will be treated as children. We will need to play like men and we will give our best,” noted Malone.

He notes that the game will be massive for Simba as a team and Tanzanian football as a whole, stressing on the importance of fighting for a positive result, and each player to give a good performance.

“It will be very important for every player to give a good performance because the whole world will be watching. Victory doesn’t come easy but with a good mentality and good preparation, we will do well. Everyone in the team is prepared,” he noted.

The defender adds; “It is a very big challenge. When you face someone big, you also need to see yourself as big if you want to defeat them. Simba is a big club in Africa too. They might be six positions above us but it doesn’t mean we can’t do the job. If we see them like elephants they will surpass us but we need to look at them as us, and we will be victorious.”

Che Malone joined the team from Cameroonian champions Cotonsport, and he joined Wekundu wa Msimbazi with a huge pedigree, having been named the league’s Most Valuable Player last season.

He says he loves life in Dar es Salaam so far, and is more astounded by the amazing passion the Tanzanians have for the game.

“Everyone here loves football,” Malone says. “It is crazy especially on the day of the game, everywhere is just about football. There is so much love and friendship here in Tanzania which is really important in football.”

“When I came in, it wasn’t hard to settle because I had also prepared myself in the mind, knowing that I was coming to a new challenge and it made things easy. They welcomed me with a lot of love and I easily integrated in,” he adds.

Che Malone is slowly becoming a fan favorite at Msimbazi, having formed a rock solid partnership with Congolese international Hennock Inonga at the heart of Simba’s backline.

And now, he hopes they can achieve yet another massive result with the cracking AFL fixture against Ahly, and he has asked fans to come out in large numbers and offer them support.

“We can only win with their (fans) support. They should come and bring the noise, which will give us the courage to play and win for them. They should come prepared to shout from start to finish,” said the defender, as he rallied the red and white army to flock the national stadium.

Simba had their penultimate training session at their base in Bunju, in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, but will have their final match out on Thursday evening at the National Stadium, the venue of Friday’s titanic battle.