MAPINDUZI Cup defending champions Azam FC announced yesterday that they are now focusing on their next game against Young Africans tomorrow.
This would be the first Dar es Salaam derby of the tournament between two teams which are fighting neck to neck to win the Mainland Premier League title this season.
Until now, ten points separate them in the league and the gap could either increase or decrease depending on the results to be recorded when the two clubs meet at the National Stadium to mark the end of the league’s first chapter on a date yet to be confirmed.
Yanga sit top of the pile with 50 points, while their closest pursuers Azam are second with 40 points respectively hence tomorrow’s clash would sparkle the show to be displayed in the elite league match.
Speaking yesterday from Zanzibar, Azam FC Communications Officer Jafary Idd said they are now preparing to tear off Yanga after opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
“We know that it is going to be a tough game altogether because we play in the same league hence we know each other well. It will be an opportunity for us to get back into the winning formula after being held to a 1-1 draw,” Idd said.
He added that knowing how difficult their game against Yanga would be, the team regrouped early yesterday and began training sessions to get the better of their opponents.
“As I speak with you, the coach is already on the ground making sure that his squad delivers on the day,” he said. Commenting on the draw, Idd said the team (Azam) lacked efficiency in their midfield segment thereby allowing pressure from the opposite team.
“If you may recall, last year we started the campaign on similar fashion (draw) but we won the second game. History has repeated on itself and on Saturday (tomorrow), we simply want the victory,” said Idd.
However, Yanga is reported to have left behind most of its key players with Pius Buswita, Juma Abdul, Deus Kaseke, Matheo Antony, Said Makapu and Maka Edward as the only regular faces of the team, while the rest are irregular players.
Moreover, the team’s Assistant Coach Noel Mwandila is expected to take command of the team throughout the tournament in the absence of Head Coach Mwinyi Zahera.
In his previous press conference, Zahera said he has put much focus on lifting the Mainland Premier League title as such did not want to overdose his charges.
“In life when you have been given an opportunity to choose one thing from many, you usually choose what you think would give you the change you need to move forward,” he said.
He added: “We will go to Zanzibar with the squad capable to clinch Mapinduzi Cup even though it will be a mix up to give chance to other players as well.”
Meanwhile, Jamhuri Coach, Issa Kassim said that the match against Azam was tough and he is pleased with a point. Kassim said Jamhuri target to clinch the tournament’s title for the second time after 17 years.
Winner of this year’s Mapinduzi Cup will bag 15m/- compared to winner of previous edition, who pocketed 10m/-. The runner up will collect 10m/- which has doubled from the previous prize.
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Publish date : 2019-01-04 09:34:08