The East African footballing fraternity will come to a standstill once again when two of the biggest teams in region collide in one of the most colourful African rivalries known to the beautiful game: it’s the Kariakoo Derby between Simba SC and Yanga SC.
In Tanzania, it is more than just a football match; it is a clash of cultures, political differences and, of course, a showdown between the two best teams in the country.
Simba SC vs Yanga SC | Saturday 11 December | Benjamin Mkapa Stadium | 16:00
*Betting available closer to kick off with Hollywoodbets.
It’s been a disappointing season thus far for the Tanzanian champions, with Simba SC some way off the pace, being two points adrift of their Kariakoo rivals and also getting knocked out of the CAF Champions League in the preliminary round.
Simba were impressive in the Champions League last season, beating the likes of Al Ahly and topping their group. They got knocked out by Kaizer Chiefs in the quarter-finals and a lot of improvements were expected this time around. The Tanzanian champions were drawn with Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy.
The first leg in Botswana ended 2-0 in favour of Simba and we all thought they are through to the group stages as expected. Come the second leg at the Benjamin Mkapa, the hosts were 1-0 up at half-time, meaning Jwaneng would have to dig deep and score three without reply to progress. The Simba players got complacent and paid a big price.
The score ended 3-1 in favour of the away side and the Reds were knocked out on away goal rule. That was a harsh reminder to the East Africans that sustained concentration is needed in big tournaments. Simba sacked head coach Didier Gomes Da Rosa following the embarrassing exit.
Former Real Madrid assistant coach Pablo Martin was called up to replace Didier Games and the mandate is simple: defend the NBC Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the CAF Confederations Cup. However, one would argue and say Simba are not the same this season after losing key players Luis Miquissone to Al Ahly and Clatous Chama JR who joined RS Berkane in Morocco.
If you’ll be on the road this Saturday don't miss out the #KariakooDerby game and watch it live on #AzamSports1HD on our most credible and authoritative TV Station @azamtvtz@SimbaSCTanzania take on @yangasc1935, who will be victorious? pic.twitter.com/Nihdf91Xpd— Boychild (@abuutza) December 6, 2021
Yanga have shown massive improvements this season. They are currently top of the log with 19 points winning six and drawing one from the seven matches played. They’ve only conceded two goals and scored 12.
The impressive start saw Nasreddine Nabi win Coach of the Month for October while star midfielder Feisal Salum ‘Feitoto’ was named Player of the Month. Feisal has been one of the best players in the league this season and is the early candidate for Player of the Season. The 23-year-old Tanzanian international has been the main instigator, scoring crackers and assisting with regularity. Another player who has been in blistering form for the Young Africans is Fiston Kalala Mayele who for me is the best number 9 in the continent at the moment.
Mayele was the difference when these two sides met at the beginning of the season in the Community Shield. The Congolese star was also on target in the Dar es Salaam derby when Yanga beat Azam SC 2-0. Yanga will, however, be without their jersey no. 10 Yacouba Sogne who is out with a knee injury. It will be interesting to see who coach Nabi selects to fill the void. Many fans have opted for Sadio Ntibazonkiza who scored the opening goal in the last game against Mbeya Kwanza. Saido is a deadball specialist and you need such players in such big games – but some fans have been calling for Farid Mussa to be a regular, who for me it’s still quality for quality and that’s the kind of headache the coach wants.
Verdict: Young Africans
There is no reason to go against Yanga in this game and I believe they will beat Simba again this season. Mayele and Feisal are unstoppable while the likes of Dickson Job are doing an excellent work in defence. A win here will see Yanga move five points clear of their opponents so the pressure is on the home side to win and leapfrog the log leaders by one point.
Acha timu bora ishinde (may the best team win).