Who is Simba SC best penalty taker?   

08Apr 2019
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Who is Simba SC best penalty taker?   

JOHN Bocco squandered a chance to give Tanzania’s Simba Sports Club a precious victory over TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, when his effort went over the crossbar. Simba were forced to settle for a goalless draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Simba players in a group picture prior to participating in a recent match in the 2018/19 Mainland Premier League.

The results means Simba will have to a difficulty mission of avoiding defeat in the return leg to progress for a historic semi-final berth in the 2018/19 CAF Champions League.

There is a bit of a discussion after Bocco missed that penalty over whether he should have taken that one at all, and generally, there can be no clear majority as the Simba squad contains a number of good penalty takers. 

Over the two seasons, Simba have seen some disastrous penalty misses. The Msimbazi Reds have seen the likes of Bocco, Emmanuel Okwi, Meddie Kagere, Adam Salamba, and Haruna Niyonzima all take penalties on various occasions, but who should be the player to step up to the spot if available? 

It is worth pointing out that Simba have already been awarded 19 penalties over the past two seasons.

But whilst we are yet to witness Erasto Nyoni step up to take one, if my life depended on a Simba player scoring a penalty I would choose Nyoni for his technique and calmness. 

Nyoni has scored penalties at both club and international level, showing that he is more than capable of coping with the pressure of taking a spot-kick. 

His calm, collected finish against Uganda’s Cranes in the recent 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign would suggest that he could become Simba’s and Taifa Stars full-time penalty taker. 

However, Emmanuel Okwi and John Bocco have been the designated penalty takers in the last two seasons. This is understandable in the sense that strikers are naturally preferred in taking penalties. 

Upon his third return to Simba, Okwi assumed penalty-taking duties, and was in good form with them – netting four out of five spot kicks in the 2017-18 season. 

He missed a 90th minute spot-kick against Kagera Sugar in that season. It was a decisive moment, Okwi had to score the equalizer that would have meant Simba keep their unbeaten run. He is yet to take a penalty this season. 

Bocco had a 100% penalty-taking record for the 2017-18 season for Simba with his two spot kicks, and extended his tally to seven this season, until his crucial miss yesterday. 

Having scored seven out of his eight penalties, he has turned out to be Simba's most prolific penalty-kick scorer over the past two seasons. 

He has scored penalties against Zambia’s Nkana, Eswatini’s Mbabane Swallows and Al Masry of Egypt. 

What happened yesterday is part of hazard nature of penalties. Even the best penalty takers at the world’s biggest leagues have seen their efforts either saved or fly off target. 

Simba fans are frustrated by Bocco’s wild penalty that would have won the match for the squad, but no one should dare question him. 

On so many occasions Bocco has been an easy target for blame, but this time no self-respecting Simba fan is going to go on a tangent against the former Azam forward. 

Keep your eye on Meddie Kagere. He is a decent penalty taker for Simba. Although he might not always be in the side, he tends to come up with the goods. He has not missed from the spot this season in his two attempts so far. 

With Bocco having missed the crucial penalty, one should not be surprised if Kagere is given the nod to take penalties for Simba next time.


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