CAF CL: Simba through to quarter-finals as group stage concludes

Tanzanian heavyweights Simba SC booked a place in this year’s CAF Champions League quarter-finals after a dramatic 2-1 win over Congolese outfit AS Vita in the final round of the group stage matches played Saturday 16 March at the National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam.

Destiny was in the defending Tanzanian Premier League (TPL) champions’ hands, a win would secure their passage to the next round irregardless of Al Ahly’s result at home to Algerian side JS Saoura. All four teams in Group D had equal chance of qualifying out of the group coming into the final round of matches.

90th minute

Zambian international Clatous Chama was the hero of the day as he struck a 90th minute winner after both teams were tied at 1-1 and it looked like Vita had done just enough to finish as the runners-up in the group.

Vita, CAF Confederations Cup finalists in 2018, drew first blood with a goal as early as the 13th minute through Kazadi Kasengu but Simba would rally, urged by their vociferous fans at a packed Taifa Stadium, and got a deserved equalizer in the 36th minute through Mohammed Hussein.

The three points, saw the Wekundu wa Msimbazi finish in 2nd place with nine points with Al Ahly claiming top spot after a dominant 3-0 win over JS Saoura in Alexandria that hoisted them up to 10 points.

Home games

Simba’s progression solidifies the notion that home matches are key in progressing in Africa. The six time CECAFA Cup champions lost all their away games, conceding a whopping 12 goals and scoring none but they turned on the style in Dar and in return have sealed their place in the last eight of the competition.

They will know their opponents in three days’ time on Wednesday 20 when the draw is made.

The quarterfinals will be packed with the continents best as defending champions Esperance, TP Mazembe, CS Constantine, Wydad Casablanca, Mamelodi Sundowns have all made it through to join Al Ahly and Simba.