Azam FC pursues goalkeeping improvement, seeks Manula’s signature

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 12:55 PM May 15 2024
Aishi Salum Manula.
Photo: File
Aishi Salum Manula.

AZAM FC is fervently pursuing the return of former star goalkeeper, Aishi Manula, to the club as the outfit seeks improvement ahead of the next season.

Manula, renowned as one of Tanzania's top goalkeepers in recent years, left the Chamazi Street-based team in 2017 and joined Simba SC but is now being targeted for a comeback, according to sources close to the club.

Reports suggest that Azam FC is considering parting ways with current goalkeepers Ali Ahamada and Abdulai Iddrisu, both of whom are lately nursing injuries. 

The potential departure of the two keepers would pave the way for Manula’s return, aiming to provide support to loanee goalkeeper Mohamed Mustafa.

Efforts to bring Manula back to Azam FC have been ongoing, with negotiations initially stalling due to disagreements over player exchanges with his current club, Simba SC.

However, recent developments indicate that Azam FC officials have been closely monitoring Manula’s recovery from a hip operation to facilitate his return to full fitness.

While neither Simba SC nor Azam FC have officially confirmed the potential transfer, sources reveal that direct communication between the two clubs regarding Manula’s availability has taken place.

The player has reportedly expressed his desire to join Azam FC at the end of the season, adding fuel to the speculations.

Azam FC’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdulkarim Amin ‘Popat’, refrained from commenting on the ongoing rumours but assured that the club would provide updates through official channels when necessary. 

“We adhere to our protocol of disseminating all official information through our club’s established channels. As such, I prefer not to comment on rumours at this time," Amin remarked.

The official noted: "Our loyal fans can rest assured that they will receive all relevant updates once our deliberations are concluded." 

Similarly, Simba SC’s Media and Communication Manager Ahmed Ally hinted that decisions regarding player movements at the club would be made after the season conclusion. 

The official remarked: “The decisions regarding the players’ future will be disclosed once the season concludes. However, as club leaders, our priority is to retain all our top-performing players.”

Manula, often hailed as ‘Tanzania One’ for his stellar performances, boasts an impressive track record with Simba SC, having clinched multiple league titles and personal accolades.

Despite enduring a challenging 2023/24 season marked by injuries, Manula’s potential acquisition by Azam FC signals the outfit's ambition to strengthen the squad ahead of future campaigns.

Azam FC has already begun preparations for the upcoming season, securing signings such as central defender Yoro Mamadou Diaby and attacking midfielder Franck Tiesse.

The acquisition of these players, alongside the potential addition of Manula, underscores the club’s commitment to achieving success in domestic and continental competitions.

As the transfer saga unfolds, football enthusiasts eagerly await official announcements from both clubs regarding Manula’s future.

Should the deal materialize, it could mark a significant milestone for Azam FC as the club strives to reclaim its spot among dominant forces in Tanzanian football.