Whenever Simba wins a match, there are praises for Meddie Kagere, John Bocco and Emmanuel Okwi for their scoring prowess. It is no surprise because goals always decide a game. However, there are some players who play crucial roles despite not finding the back of the net.
They are the unsung heroes. And one of them is Ghanaian-import James Kotei, when it comes to Simba. He has metamorphosed into one of the key player at the Dar es Salaam based club since joining the Tanzania champions three years ago. Ahead of the crucial Total CAF Champions League Day 6 clash against AS Vita, CAFOnline.com caught up with Kotei to talk about his time in Tanzania, playing in the CAF Champions League amongst others. Here are excerpts;
CAFOnline.com: What do you make of the chances of Simba in the must-win match against AS Vita?
James Kotei: Simba is a fantastic club with fantastic leaders and fans. As the saying goes “Nguvu Moja” so we are together. Together we win. We have what it takes to advance to the quarter finals and we have to beat AS Vita to realise that objective. We have the players to do the job. It won’t be easy but we are poised for victory.
You joined Simba unknown. How much work have you put into becoming a key cog in the squad?
Most people did not know much about me probably because I was not in the Ghana national team. Once I arrived, determination and hard work has been the bedrock to reaching this far. Last year, I was full of joy after winning the Tanzania league title with Simba, because it was my first honour playing abroad.
At the beginning, you faced stiff competition from Jonas Mkude in midfield. Do you think the decision to play both of you was good?
Jonas is one of the finest midfielder I have played with and I enjoy playing with him. Our partnership looks solid and we respect each other. I have played in different positions since joining Simba, and I have no problems with that though my favorite is defensive midfield. As a talented player, you should be able to play more than one position.
Simba vs Yanga is one of the biggest derbies on the continent. What memories do you have of the Dar derby?
The Tanzania derby is one of the greatest in the world. It is comparable to the Spanish El Clasico thus Barcelona & Real Madrid. The atmosphere and the presence of the fans from both side in the stadium is wonderful. My first time was in 2016-2017 in the second half of the season, and Simba won 2-1. It was a great feeling to be on the winning team.
Simba sits third on the Tanzania Premier League table with seven matches to go. Do you think retaining the title is possible?
The race is on and it is possible to retain the league title. The challenge from bitterest rivals Young Africans “Yanga” is real. It will be tough but we have the capability to make our fans smile at the end of the season.