Azam FC looks to close gap with Yanga

By Michael Mwebe , The Guardian
Published at 09:00 AM Apr 17 2024
Azam FC's coach Youssouph Dabo.
Azam FC's coach Youssouph Dabo.

TWO teams at opposite ends of the NBC Premier League table will lock horns at Azam Complex Stadium in Dar es Salaam this evening, with both sides needing points for very different reasons.

The host, Azam FC, is sitting second having collected 50 points, five behind leaders Young Africans SC and four ahead of third-placed Simba SC.

With six games remaining post this fixture, victory is non-negotiable to keep pace in a heated title race.

A win would see them close the gap on Young Africans SC, alias Yanga, to two points albeit having played two more games.

They head into today’s clash on the back of a 2-0 victory over Namungo FC. Thanks to Sunday’s triumph, Azam FC is unbeaten in the squad’s last 18 matches across all competitions, picking up 14 wins and four draws along the way.

Azam FC is also unbeaten in 15 league games, having claimed 11 wins and four draws since the team’s last loss, with the last defeat coming five months ago against Yanga.

The probability of another positive result for Azam FC is high but coach Bruno Ferry insists his side will need to be at their best to grind another positive result against Mashujaa FC who are fighting for their lives.

“We have three games this week. We started with Namungo FC on Sunday. It was important for us to start with a good result so now we need to continue in that trend. We know it will be a difficult game tomorrow because this team has a lot of quality,” Ferry said

“They had a big game against Simba SC and we know they can repeat this kind of performance. What is important for us is to have a good recovery for the players because the trip was long. We need to be ready and concentrate because we know this team can cause problems if we don’t do the job correctly.”

“The biggest mistake we can make is to check the league table at the moment thinking that because of Mashujaa FC’s position, it will be easy.”

“The most difficult game you can play at the moment is this kind of game, teams that are playing to avoid relegation are really difficult to play. They have motivation.”

As for Mashujaa FC, this midweek match is not just a game- it is a trial by fire for the visiting side, who despite being caught up in the relegation battle have previously showcased a gallant fight.

Mashujaa FC’s tenacity was on full display last week when they secured a precious penalty victory against Simba SC in the CRDB Federation Cup. That spirit will need to be summoned once more as they step into the Chamazi cauldron. 

The army side cannot afford to slip yet again after losing 2-1 to Coastal Union last weekend.

The loss in the duel against Coastal Union sent them back to second bottom, just four points above a resurgent Mtibwa Sugar who picked a point in an away match between the side and Geita Gold FC.