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Football Reporting

Champions League

Gor Mahia dominance to blame for Mashemeji Derby’s decline’ – Simba SC keeper Manula

The Taifa Star believes going for quality players has also helped improve the Tanzania Mainland League

Simba SC goalkeeper Aishi Manula believes Gor Mahia’s recent dominance in Kenya played a part in reducing the popularity of the Mashemeji Derby.

K’Ogalo have been the better side against perennial rivals AFC Leopards in recent times – prior to the 0-0 draw this season, the reigning Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions had won six straight league games against Ingwe. 

The Tanzania international believes it is the main difference between the Mashemeji Derby and the Kariakoo Derby, that brings together Simba SC and Yanga SC.

“In the recent past, the Mashemeji Derby was doing well and it was exciting to watch,” Manula told Goal.

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“However, Gor Mahia have been dominating which in a way has affected the derby. Other teams are struggling to match them [including rivals Leopards] and it has made the derby’s spark go down. 

“It is different with the Kariakoo Derby because both Simba and Yanga are almost at par. It makes the derby unpredictable and as a result, many fans come in large numbers to support their respective teams.”

The 25-year-old also explained why the Tanzania Mainland League is fast gaining popularity in the East Africa region and the entire continent at large.

“The league is rapidly developing owing to the competition of [Yanga, Simba and Azam] and of late we have also seen the likes of Namungo FC, Kagera Sugar, and Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) FC, Mtibwa Sugar also pushing up well for the title,” Manula continued.

“Not only that, other teams are going for professional players. Even the foreign-based players signed by the bigger clubs are exceptional and it has helped in the growth of our league.

 “In East Africa, Tanzania league is leading considering even the way the teams are performing in the continental assignments.”

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The custodian will be making a return to Wekundu wa Msimbazi this weekend against AS Vita hoping to get a point to seal progression to the Caf Champions League quarter-finals.

Mnyama lead Group A with 10 points, three more than defending champions Al Ahly, while the Congolese side are in third with four points, three more than bottom-placed Al Merrikh, who have no chance of making it to the next stage.

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