Azam's poor run in Premier League is beyond technical bench competence

14May 2022
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Azam's poor run in Premier League is beyond technical bench competence

​​​​​​​IF an individual comes from a spiritual society there is a time he or she might feel that the NBC Premier League side, Azam FC, needs serious prayers this season.

Azam FC defender, Abdallah Kheri, reacts after failing to convert a chance when the club took on Mbeya City FC in this season's NBC Premier League tie that took place in Mbeya on Tuesday. Mbeya City FC won 2-1.

With all that investment the squad has had, it is going through a more difficult time than any tenure since it garnered promotion to the league in 2007.

It hurts so much, who might have thought Azam FC would end up as a third-placed side battling with mid-table teams? This is happening this season.

Azam FC is confused, the squad conceded a 2-1 loss to Mbeya City FC this week, the loss felt like driving a hot nail in the middle of a green sore.

It was the fifth defeat for Azam FC in the last seven matches. In those matches, Azam FC has won one and drawn two.

This means the outfit has so far collected five points out of 21, it is amazing.

Everyone believed that head coach George Lwandamina's poor tactics were Azam FC's problem this season.

The outfit's leadership resorted to sacking the Zambian gaffer before matters got too complicated. What has changed? There has been no change so far.

Azam FC has become increasingly helpless, that is, after 23 matches the outfit has collected 32 points.

So far 11 points differentiate Azam FC from Mbeya Kwanza FC, positioned at the bottom of the league.

This was the same Azam FC that was fighting for the top-flight title five years ago against Yanga which was financed by prominent businessman Yusuph Manji.

Azam FC competed fiercely with Manji's Yanga, the former did not accept humiliation at all.

The irony is that this season Azam FC is competing with Namungo FC, Kinondoni Municipal Council FC, Mbeya City FC, and Polisi Tanzania.

The tournament's defending champion, Simba, and pace-setter, Yanga, are no longer Azam FC competitors.

Is Azam FC's technical department a problem? Is it not the same tactician, Abdihamid Moallin, who enjoyed a fine start to his stint at the outfit?

Everyone agreed that he was the best coach, what is hindering him now?

Arresting a slide has proved to be one of football management's more difficult tasks for Moallin.

By the time the clocks go back, Azam FC's board of directors and fans have generally had time to assess the club's coaches' performance and decided if the latter should either be under pressure or not.

Speaking of pressure on Azam FC, I hardly think the outfit is as stressed as Simba and Yanga.

Simba and Yanga are under pressure from their fans, particularly when the outfits' results are not satisfactory.

The clubs' officials are under pressure, which is brought about by the failure of a section of footballers to shine on the pitch.

Moallin might be subjected to blind selection, having blind faith in the players in selecting and basing a lot of that on attributes, partly what was hindering the outfit's performance.

The temptation during a run of poor form is to play through it, hammer the space bar, and assume the results will come.

This is not working though, maybe if he takes a step back and looks into the statistics. A few notable things will come to light.

I am not sure how much the coach subscribes to the whole process of adapting to a tactical approach when he is sure the side is not performing at the same level as it did in the first round.

Azam FC pressed well during the games against mid-table teams in the league, won the ball back, and was able to score different types of goals.

But another question is that Azam FC has not won against top guns, Simba and Yanga, this season.

This all stopped during the poor run, Azam FC started to concede far more chances and goals than the outfit did earlier.

Azam FC has become the weakest in the wide areas, this may change if Moallin decides to change approach, become more balanced, and add in some support and more conservative play in wide defense.

Scoring opportunities can mainly come from either the central midfield or wings, not the final third, this is something that needs to change at the outfit.

Football fanatics can talk about the tactical side on the pitch but more questions can be directed to the registration policy set up by the leadership.

The outfit's leadership has failed to sign players that meet the standards to efficiently compete with Simba and Yanga.

Most of the players registered by Azam FC are very ordinary, they have failed to provide resistance to Simba and Yanga and fight for their prestige.

Azam FC has even crashed out of the early stages of this season's CAF Confederation Cup.

A team that does not have a lot of fans in the country should distinguish itself in the area of ​​heavy investment via signing quality players.

This has been proven in South Africa, Mamelodi Sundowns is aware that it is not the oldest team in the country, as is the case with either Orlando Pirates or Kaizer Chiefs.

To compete with outfits that have established themselves as successful sides over the years, Mamelodi Sundowns signed top players that have seen them lift South Africa's Premier Soccer League silverware for five consecutive years.

Looking at Azam FC over years, I think the outfit has a bigger problem than coaching, if the squad does not solve the problem, such a crisis will continue to exist in the club for many more years.