Azam saw off South Africa’s Bidvest Wits in the first round of the tournament with a 7-3 aggregate win, courtesy of 3-0 in the first leg match played at the latter’s backyard and then commanded a 4-3 win in the return leg at the Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
The Azam stand in coach said his team needs to work on defensive weakness it showcased in the Sunday game, should there be any chances for the squad to get good results in subsequent assignments.
“I wasn’t happy that we conceded cheap goals today. We need to work on the weakness we displayed in the defense prior to taking on Esperance,” he said.
Kitambi said he was, overall, happy with the victory, noting that his team fully exploited Bidvest Wits’ defensive flaws to find the latter’s back of the net four times.
“Our opponents’ defenders were marking high up the pitch and we duly punished them for the move,” Kitambi said.
Bidvest Wits’ coach, Gavin Hunt, also noted that Azam will need to work hard should the latter wish to clear the next hurdle, given that Esperance are a force to reckon with in club competitions in the continent.
Bidvest Wits’ striking force led by Abednego Mosiatlhaga and Namibian Henrico Botes made dangerous forays into Azam’s penalty area during the closing stages of the game to keep the hosts’ keeper, Aishi Manula, under pressure.
Azam will come up against experienced opponents in Esperance and a resounding win in the first leg match will be crucial for the former in their quest for progression to the next stage of the tournament.
Esperance bundled Renaissance FC of Chad out of the first round of the tournament with a 7-0 aggregate victory.
Esperance claimed a 2-0 win over Renaissance in the first leg game at the latter’s venue on March 12 and the former, then, trounced the Chadian side 5-0 in the second leg game played in Tunis last Saturday.
Azam are taking part in continental club competitions for the third time. They first played in the CAF Confederations Cup in 2014, in which they bowed out of the event in the second round after losing to Moroccan opponents.
Azam then took part in the CAF Champions League the following season, which saw the former carelessly lose to Sudan giants, El Merreikh, in the first round.