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Simba struggle to assemble team to face Wydad

Simba Sports Club are faced with a race against time to assemble a strong team to face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in an African Champions League playoff this weekend

AFP, Wednesday 18 May 2011
Mbwana Samata
Simba striker Mbwana Samata and his teammates who left the team last April
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The former Tanzanian champions, who were handed a third round slot after holders TP Mazembe of DR Congo were disqualified, lost several key players who left the club at the end of the league season in April, along with their Zambian-born coach Patrick Phiri.

Simba officials are hopeful they will be able to convince two of their former players, including international striker Mbwana Samata, who joined TP Mazembe, and Uganda-born striker Emmanuel Okwi, who is in trials with South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs, to return for the playoff.

"We have discussed the matter with TP Mazembe officials to release the players, who are still under contract with us, and they will be joining the training camp soon," said Simba chairman Aden Rage.

Both Simba and Wydad Casablanca were handed the third round clash after the Congolese champions were disqualified from the tournament for fielding an ineligible player, defender Janvier Bokungu, during the second round matches.

Whoever emerges victorious in the one-off clash goes into the eight-club Champions League group phase while the losers get a second chance at African glory in the Confederation Cup playoffs.

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