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banner Monday, 4 March, 2002, 12:57 GMT
Simba win Cecafa club cup
Zanzibar's President Karume presents the cup to Simba's captain
Zanzibar's President Karume presents the cup to Simba's captain
Tanzanian club Simba SC have won the Cecafa club champions cup and $30,000 in prize money by defeating Prince Louis of Burundi 1-0 in the final in Zanzibar.

The big prize-money of $30,000 eventually landed in the hands of the Simba captain.

A goal from close range in the 5th minute by John Muteze following a good run on the left flank by Kenyan international Max Serengo, was enough for the Dar es Salaam club to beat newcomers Prince Louis of Burundi 1-0.

Simba claimed their sixth title in the East and Central African Cup to confirm their status as the most successful club in the 29-year history of the competition.

Loyal fans

The Tanzanians enjoyed the full support of a 15,000 capacity Amaan Stadium situated on the outskirts of Zanzibar town.

Simba coach James Siang'a enjoys the final agianst Prince Louis of Burundi
Simba coach James Siang'a

Thousands of fans had made the hour and a half journey on speed ferrys across the channel from Dar es Salaam.

For Prince Louis of Burundi, there wasn't much to complain about in this final as they didn't manage to shoot on target one single time and had substitute striker Masumbuko Wilonjia sent off five minutes from time for dissent and a second yellow card.

The Tanzanian players imposed their physical presence to disallow any Burundian attempt to put their fancy flowing game together.

After an entertaining 45 minutes, the quality of the game really deteriorated in the second half, but for Simba's Kenyan coach James Siang'a, the only objective was to take the trophy home.

"When you play a final like this one, you don't expect a team to play well, or at least play the good football they have shown in the league", Siang'a told BBC Sport Online.

"There was a lot of tension, and the players and worried because we knew Prince Louis was technically better than us. But we have more experience and we beat them with because of that" Siang'a said.

"You could see the Burundians were handling the game cautiously. But we went flat out every time for the ball."

Prince Louis can be proud

It was Prince Louis's first participation in the Cecafa Cup and the first time a Burundian team had qualified to the final.

Although this young side gained a lot of experience over the last two weeks, the players were gutted as they saw their opponents brandishing the trophy.

Prince Louis's captain Masoud Djuma said: "The Simbas were always on our back. They made a lot of fouls. They didn't allow us to develop our game."

Mlandege player in training
Mlandege player

But Siang'a replied: "We were just hard, not tough, and there's a difference."

The Simba's coach added: "The $30,000 came as a great incentive for the players and that's why they played so well. Everybody is going for money."

Prince Louis banked $20,000, and Zanzibari side Mlandege banked $10,000 for defeating Uganda's Sports Club Villa 3-1 on penalties in the battle for third place.

Back to business

For the Simbas, victory celebrations will be short-lived as they are hitting the road again.

They are flying to Zambia this week , where they'll face the Red Devils in the African Champions League.

With renewed confidence, they will attempt to improve the recent poor showing of East African football at continental level.

All the prize-money and the trophy were donated by the Rwandan President Paul Kagame in order to help and boost football in the region.

See also:

13 Feb 02 |  Africa
Kagame saves Cecafa
03 Mar 02 |  Africa
Holders face stern Rwanda test
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