Mo return to Simba’s board of directors: A blueprint for revival amidst challenges

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 05:15 AM Jun 15 2024
Mohamed Dewji ‘Mo’
Photo: Courtesy of Simba
Mohamed Dewji ‘Mo’

AFTER Mohamed Dewji ‘Mo’ agreed to be the chairman of Simba’s Board of Directors, due to Salim Abdallah ‘Try Again’ resigning, now it seems he has challenges to face so that the team can get back on track.

Try Again announced his resignation as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Simba SC a few days after five members of the board on the investor’s side resigned due to the team’s bad performance during the 2023/24 season.

When Try Again announced his resignation, he asked Mo Dewji to take the seat. It should be noted that Mo Dewji was previously the chairman of the board before resigning in September 2021. He stayed for four years and left the stick to Try Again. Mo Dewji was then announced as the Honorary President of Simba SC.

With the return of Mo Dewji in that position, which procedurally he will have to re-contest, there is a lot that has emerged. Among that is how he is going to face the challenges while the fans and members of the club have a great desire to see positive results.

The biggest demand of the Msimbazi Street-based side fans is on the registration of players. They claim that most of the players failed them the most last season and they want new players with the quality needed to make Simba great again. 

Last season, Simba finished in third place in the Premier League standings, something that has hurt the club’s fans the most because next season they are going to participate in the CAF Confederation Cup and not the CAF Champions League.

The team did not make impressive signings at the end of the season, and many players who entered the team including Aubin Kramo, who was injured throughout the season, Pa Omar Jobe and Babacar Sarr, who entered during the January transfer window, failed to quench the thirst of the fans. Although, some did well including Ayoub Lakred and Freddy Michael despite starting slowly.

Their focus is on the foreign international players who are the ones who are the most eyed by Simba fans because they believe that due to their frequently participation in CAF championships, they should sign important players from abroad.

Mo Dewji has a big responsibility to ensure that Simba make good and productive registrations for the team, which will bring back their competitiveness in the championships they are going to participate in.

The members of Simba’s Board of Directors on the investor’s side have all resigned including their chairman, Try Again, so a new line of leadership must be created to join the members on the other side of the club’s members who continue to dance, announcing that they have no plans to resign like their colleagues.

Simba’s underperformance has led the fans and members of the club to lose faith in their team and many do not go to the field. In the past three seasons, Young Africans have continued to dominate while Simba have struggled and all the blame goes to the club’s leaders.

Mo has announced his return. He has to return the trust of the club’s fans, and that cannot be done if he fails to have a good team. 

Simba used to be famous for playing attractive football, but in the meantime, the situation has changed. They play only to get a victory. 

Simba’s traditional rivals Young Africans have been doing well in their Dar es Salaam derbies. When these teams meet, no one likes to see their rivals win. That makes their games very emotional inside and outside the field. To make matters worse for the fans, Simba suffered the whole last season and were beaten by a total of 7-2 goals in the two league matches against Young Africans.

Simba and Young Africans are going to meet again in the opening matches of the next season (Community Shield) where the tournament involves four teams starting from the semi-finals. Others are Azam and Coastal Union.

The semi-finals will be Young Africans vs Simba and Azam vs Coastal Union. The winners will go to the final to compete for the title which is held by Simba. That will be another test for Simba to show their dominance in front of Young Africans and defend the title they won by beating the Jangwani-based side with a penalty shootout last season.

Last season, Simba was coached by three different coaches. They started with Roberto Oliveira ‘Robertinho’, who left in November 2023, before Abdelhak Benchikha came and his journey ended in April 2024. All those two coaches were foreigners before the native Juma Mgunda finished the season.

The act of changing coaches within a short time has been mentioned as part of Simba’s failure. So Mo Dewji should also look into this.

Simba and Young Africans are the oldest teams in the Premier League and have established their rule because, in the past 20 seasons, they have been exchanging the championship of the league, Azam have intervened only once.

For three consecutive seasons now, Young Africans have established their rule by carrying the league championship in a row. Before that, Simba did it for four seasons in a row.

When Simba won the league championship four times in a row in 2017/2018, 2018/19, 2019/20, and 2020/21, Mo Dewji was the chairman of the Board of Directors, so his departure is like he left with his trophies.

Now he is coming back, the big hope is to bring back the lost rule while he was sitting on the sidelines.

Simba’s goal for a long time was to play in the semi-final stage of the CAF Champions League. That is after playing in the quarter-finals five times, starting in 2018. In recent seasons, the team’s goal of advancing to the CAF Champions League semi-finals seemed to be only a small thing that failed them. But heading into the season next time they will participate in the Confederation Cup, therefore, they have work to do to achieve their goal.

Simba’s motto is ‘Nguvu Moja’, but Mo Dewji believes that unity is not there at the moment, so when he returns to his previous seat, he should manage that to show there is change.

There is a lot of work to be done here because since the process of changing the operations of Simba SC began in 2018, up to date, there is tension here and there to the point of delaying the completion of the matter.

A lot has been said about the process, but what is expected is to see everything completed quickly as the members have agreed to the change even though they need a procedure to be followed.

The foundation of many long-term successful teams is youth football. You can have a great team by buying players every transfer window, but homegrown young players are necessary for long-term success for any team.

Simba is one of the teams that in the past had a good foundation for youth football. We witnessed many of their young players coming to carry them forward. That happened between 2012 and 2015, but after that, it is as if they have forgotten themselves. Those who are promoted to the senior team, are not given the chance to develop their talents.

Right now, goalkeeper Ally Salim you can say is the only one among their young players who gets that chance, but there should have been many other players who are given the chance as it was in previous years when we witnessed Ramadhan Singano, Jonas Mkude, Said Ndemla and others lighting it up.

As Mo is now back on track he should manage the area of investment for youth football by putting a great force that will produce talent from the bottom up.