Simba head coach Serbian Milovan Cirkovic insists his charges are scared of no one as they prepare to host Entente Sportive Setif of Algeria in the first round of the Orange CAF Champions League at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking to Cafonline.com in Dar es Salaam ahead of Sunday’s first leg match against ES Setif, Cirkovic hailed Algerian side as strong team but expects his team to post good result at home and stay in good position to qualify for the next round when they travel to Algiers for the return leg match.
Cafonline.com: How do you see Sunday’s match against Entente Setif?
Cirkovic: To me it is just another game, I know they’re a strong team, but we’re not afraid of them… we will try everything to make good result for us, it is very important that we get good result.
Cafonline.com: Given you will be playing at home, what will be your game approach?
Cirkovic: We’ll go all out and try to win; they’re strong team, big team, I know Algeria has good history in African football… they sometime won African Cup, so must expect Setif to be very strong team, but we also have got a strong team and we’ll play to win.
Cafonline.com: So, how have the preparations been going so far?
Cirkovic: Our preparations have been the same as before the other game (against Kiyovu Sport). We had a tough game in the league against Mtibwa Sugar over the weekend….that game was good for us in the league campaign but on the other side, was very important in our preparation for the coming Confederation Cup match. We had a day off and now we’re back training, preparing for Sunday’s game, hopefully we’ll have good game.
Cafonline.com: Have you ever watched ES Setif videos to see how they play?
Cirkovic: I saw some(videos) from internet, but not current one, I mean I saw some of the games they played about two years ago, I saw their game against Al Herrach which they won 2-0….they’re very strong team.
Cafonline.com: The match comes about shortly after the preliminary round matches. How hard is it to get your players to perform against a strong team like Setif in such a short space of time?
Cirkovic: There’s no problem, three weeks is good enough time to prepare for any game.
Cafonline.com: Do you have any injury concerns?
Cirkovic: Chollo (Said Nassoro) and Kazimoto are just returning from injury and have not trained well, they’re not physically ready for Sunday.
Cafonline.com: Kazimoto, in particular, was outstanding against Kiyovu Sport and scored a crucial away goal in the first leg in Kigali, how are you going to replace him?
We have played four games without Kazimoto and we won, I mean other players can come on and fill in perfectly.
Cafonline.com: You have shown faith in young players like Jonas Mkude and Ramadhan Singano, what are their chances in the squad?
Cirkovic: They’re very important members of the squad. Jonas is very important player for us…he has been playing very well.
Cafonline.com: What do you make of Emmanuel Okwi’s form; he scored twice against Kiyovu Sports which earned you a place in the first round?
Cirkovic: I expect all the players to do well…. Yeah, sometimes it’s Kazimoto, sometimes Okwi, sometimes (Felix) Sunzu, sometimes (Haruna Moshi) Boban…. (Patrick) Mafisango put for goals recently, I expect everyone to put up a good performance on the day.
Cafonline.com: How has your second tenure at Simba fared so far?
Cirkovic: For me it has been very good, I’ve very good relationship with officials here, the players, we’re like a family and I am very satisfied.