HOPE abounds at Msimbazi Street following Mainland soccer club champions, Simba Sports Club's, general election last week.
The speed with which the club's new chairman Ismail Aden Rage has started to implement his election manifesto has stunned not only the club's members and supporters, but also the majority of soccer lovers across the country.
Only a day after entering office, the flamboyant Rage, who had previously played for Simba and served as the club's acting secretary general, restored electricity at the dilapidated club house along Msimbazi Street, which is still undergoing massive repairs.
“I want Simba members and fans to judge me in my first 100 days in office,” Rage, who was voted into office on May 9, said in an interview last weekend.
Apart from dishing out 3.7m/- from his pocket to clear a 15-year-old debt with the national power supplier, Tanesco, Rage is also funding and supervising rehabilitation work on the three-storey building.
In addition, he managed to raise about 24m/- spent on transporting Simba to Rwanda for the ongoing East and Central African clubs championship, baptized Kagame Cup.
Rage also opened an official e-mail account for the club last Friday. It is known as: email@example.com and plans are underway to establish a website for the club.
“I'm doing this to honour my pledge to bring change to Simba,” he said, adding that he has more surprise packages which he did not disclose.
Some doubt whether Rage will fulfill his commitments to the letter, but it should be remembered that during his tenure as acting secretary general in 1982, Simba hired Brazilian coaches Silva and Nizzo and spent 45 days training in the Land of Pele.
On return, the Msimbazi Reds mesmerized their opponents in the national football league with their dazzling 'Diagonal Samba' style.
Inspired by his previous achievements, Rage said he wants to offer Simba better services this time and, to achieve his goal, has promised to foster unity and peace amongst the club's rank and file.
“My mission is to turn around Simba's fortunes but this can only succeed if peace and harmony prevail over the club,” said Rage.
Rage has already extended an olive branch to his opponents, including Hassan Othman 'Hassanoo', whom be beat in the polls, and former chairman Hassan Dalali, who attempted to block the elections by filing a court case, contrary to FIFA and the club's rules.
He has also vowed to work closely with a group of the club's influential members known as 'Friends of Simba'.
Last week, Rage visited Mwanza and Tabora regions to preach peace and unity to the club's members and fans. He said more upcountry tours are in the pipeline.
As he continues to reorganise Simba's house, other daunting tasks facing Rage at the moment include seeing his team go through the ongoing Cecafa tourney.
Simba start their campaign for a seventh East and Central African soccer championship title on Monday this week by facing defending champions and hosts Atraco in Kigali.
Simba and Atraco are in Group C, along with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) of Uganda and Kenya champions Sofapaka.
Other teams in the Cecafa-organised championship, which kicked off last Saturday, are APR (Rwanda), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Vital'O (Burundi) and Telecom (Djibouti) which are in Group A; Heartland (Nigeria), Saint George (Ethiopia), Rayon Sport (Rwanda) and Mafunzo (Zanzibar) which constitute Group B.
Simba have won the title a record six times. They are ahead of Kenya's AFC Leopards (formerly Abaluhya) and Tusker FC (formerly Kenya Breweries) who have lifted it five times each.
Rage said they are determined to clinch the Kagame Cup to console their fans who are still recovering from a staggering 6-3 aggregate defeat to Egypt's Harras Al-Hoodoud in the CAF Cup.
“We're in Kigali to extend our record and we hope to comeback with the trophy,” he said.
God bless Simba!