Simba bid farewell to legendary striker John Bocco

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 06:01 AM Jun 18 2024
Photo: Courtesy of Simba
Tanzania’s most prolific attackers, John Bocco.

SIMBA Sports Club have officially bid farewell to one of Tanzania’s most prolific attackers, John Bocco.

The veteran striker, known for his remarkable goal-scoring prowess, has been a key figure in the club’s recent successes and a fan favorite among Tanzanian football enthusiasts.

Bocco’s tenure with Simba has been nothing short of extraordinary. Since joining the club from Azam FC in the 2017-18 season, he has been a cornerstone of Simba’s attacking force, scoring over 100 league goals and setting records along the way. 

His goal-scoring exploits have cemented his status as the top native striker in the league’s history, a record that will be remembered for years to come.

Bocco’s journey with Simba has been decorated with numerous accolades. Under his leadership, Simba clinched the Premier League title three consecutive times. 

His on-field abilities were complemented by his discipline and exemplary conduct, making him a role model for his teammates and young players alike.

Despite his illustrious career, the 2023/24 season proved to be a challenging one for Bocco. Early reports indicated that he suffered an injury during the preparations for the 2024 Mapinduzi Cup, which significantly impacted his participation in the season. 

Consequently, Bocco was not part of the Simba squad for the second round of the league, as he focused on coaching the club’s youth team under the guidance of head coach Juma Mgunda.

In an official statement, Simba expressed their gratitude and admiration for Bocco’s contributions: “Our captain and leading striker John Bocco will not be part of the squad. We thank him for his dedication and service to the club.”

Bocco’s career highlights include winning the Golden Boot in the 2020/2021 season. Despite missing most of the first-round matches due to injury, he made a stunning comeback in the second round, scoring two goals per game and finishing the season with 16 goals. 

His remarkable performance edged out rivals such as Chris Mugalu, who scored 15 goals, Prince Dube from Azam FC with 14 goals, and Meddie Kagere with 13 goals.

In terms of all-time records for the Golden Boot in the Tanzanian Premier League, Bocco sits sixth with his highest tally of 19 goals in the 2021/2022 season. 

Topping the list is Mohammed Hussein ‘Mmachinga’ of Young Africans, who scored 26 goals in 1997. Abdallah Juma of Mtibwa Sugar follows with 25 goals in 2005 while Meddie Kagere holds third place with 23 goals in the 2018/2019 season and 22 goals in the 2019/2020 season. 

Amisi Tambwe of Young Africans scored 21 goals in the 2015/2016 season, placing him fourth. Similarly, Stephane Aziz scored 21 goals in the 2023/2024 season and Simba’s Emmanuel Okwi is fifth with 20 goals in the 2017/2018 season.

Beyond his goal-scoring feats, Bocco has been celebrated for his leadership and mentorship within the team. 

His presence both on and off the pitch has left an indelible mark on Simba, inspiring younger players to emulate his professionalism and commitment to the sport.

As Bocco steps away from his role at Simba, his legacy will continue to inspire. The club and its supporters extend their deepest gratitude for his years of dedication and the unforgettable moments he brought to Tanzanian football. 

While his departure marks the end of an era, it also heralds the beginning of a new chapter for both Bocco and Simba SC.