Matola talks about Simba SC facing familiar opponent in Al Ahly

14Mar 2024
Michael Mwebe
Dar es salaam
The Guardian
Matola talks about Simba SC facing familiar opponent in Al Ahly

SIMBA SC found out on Tuesday that their 2023/24 CAF Champions League quarterfinal opponents will be 11-time African champions Al Ahly.


The first leg is scheduled for March 29-30 in Tanzania, with the return tie set to be held in Cairo on April 5-6. CAF said they will confirm the exact date and kick-off times this week.

The aggregate winner of this clash will go on to face the victor between Dr Congo’s TP Mazembe and Petro de Luanda of Angola in the semi-finals set for late April.

Simba SC hammered Jwaneng Galaxy 6-0 to finish second in Group B, two points off leaders ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast.

On the other hand, Al Ahly topped their group ahead of Young Africans having garnered 12 points in six matches.

Coming up against the record holders Al Aly is a tough draw for Simba SC but the club’s assistant coach Selemani Matola is confident that if they play their cards well they can triumph over their familiar opponents this time round.

Matola stated: "We have been playing with the Arabs regularly for three or four years now. So they are familiar opponents. We know them and they know us.”

“The match will be difficult because it involves sides that are familiar to each other,” Matola reacted after the draw.

He added: "For us, it is how we play our cards because we are meeting an opponent that we understand, as was the case in the so-called African Football League competition games.”

The former Simba SC midfielder pointed out: "If we had played our cards properly, we would have edged them out. It's time now to play our cards to progress to the next stage."

During the inaugural edition of the African Football League last October, Simba SC and Al Ahly could not be separated after drawing both games in Dar es Salaam and Cairo. However, Ahly advanced to the next round based on the away goals rule.

In the 2020/21 season, Simba SC topped their CAF Champions Group, and their only loss came to Al Ahly when both sides had already qualified.

Simba SC won 1-0 in Dar es Salaam courtesy of midfielder Luis Miquissone's first-half strike.

Al Ahly exacted revenge with a similar scoreline in the last Group Stage game of the campaign.

In 2018/19, Al Ahly handed Simba SC one of the latter's biggest continental defeats with a 5-0 score in Cairo.

Simba SC managed to win 1-0 thanks to Meddie Kagere’s goal in the reverse tie at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium which helped them secure a second-place finish behind the Egyptian giants and ahead of third-placed AS Vita of DR Congo.


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