AZAM FC moved within two points with Mainland Premier League leaders Simba and second placed Yanga after comprehensively thrashing Tanga's Coastal Union 4-1 at the Chamazi Complex in Dar es Salaam.
Youthful Khamis Mcha grabbed a brace, while strikers Gaudence Mwaikimba and Kipre Tchetche scored a goal apiece for Azam FC. Coastal Union lone goal was netted by Kenyan midfielder Jerry Santo deep in the second half. With a game in hand Azam FC are all but destined to go top of the league table should they secure maximum points from their remaining three matches of the first round. Azam moved third on 22 points from ten matches.
Mwaikimba, who stepped in for injured John Bocco, put Azam ahead after 22 minutes when he outpaced defenders to drill in a shot past keeper Jackson Chove, before Ivorian striker Kipre Tchetche netted the second in the 36th minute, following a goalmouth melee.
Attacking midfielder, Khamis Mcha scored the third for Azam in the 45th minute as they marched to the dressing room comfortably with a 3-0 lead. Azam started from where they had left in the first half and Mwaikimba missed a sitter from just outside the area.
Coastal Union goalie Jackson Chove was called out several times to stop marauding Azam FC strikers led by well built Tchetche and Mwaikimba as Azam displayed fantastic football, a model of returning English coach Stewart Hall, who rejoined the ice cream makers after a two months spell with Kenyan Premier League side Sofapaka. Mcha banged in the fourth in the 74th minute finishing off from midfielder Jabir Aziz's flick, thanks to a spade work by overlapping right fullback Kenyan Ibrahim Shikanda.
Jerry Santo scored the consolation goal for Coastal Union three minutes before the final whistle but the damage was already inflicted to the maximum and there was no way the Tanga based side could stage an astonishing comeback. In Mwanza, host Toto Africans failed to utilize its home ground following a 1-2 defeat by neighbours Kagera Sugar at the CCM Kirumba Stadium, reports Moses Matthew.
It took only two minutes for Toto Africans to break the deadlock through Peter Mtabuzi, who slid in to connect Emmanuel Swita's corner kick. Kagera Sugar reorganized and calmed their nerves to settle the score eight minutes later, through deadly striker, Themi Felix.
Toto took the game to their opponents in search for the lead and had several good chances but Kagera Sugar defenders stood firm to clear the mess. Kagera Sugar then took charge of the game and went ahead in 53rd minute, when Daudi Jumanne dribbled past a thick of defenders and his thunderbolt gave Toto Africans keeper no chance.
Meanwhile, Simba SC coach, Milovan Circkovic has vented his anger against referee, Jacob Odongo from Mara, saying he was biased against his team in the Premier League encounter against Polisi Morogoro, reports John Nditi from Morogoro. The Serbian failed to hold his chest after seeing his team drop two crucial points, following a 1-1 draw with Polisi Morogoro at the Jamhuri Stadium here on Wednesday, results which saw the defending champions losing ground in the race to retain the league trophy this season.
Simba nearly surrendered the drivers' seat and are now separated by a goal difference, with rivals Yanga, who comprehensively thrashed Mgambo JKT of Tanga 3-0 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam the same day. 'It was an outrageous performance by the referee. He stooped so low and was openly unfair against Simba... it was the same experience we had against Coastal Union and Mgambo JKT in Tanga," lamented Milovan.
He was also displeased by the standard of the Jamhuri Stadium pitch, saying it was in bad shape and did not allow his team to play its normal low passing football. Simba Chairman, Ismail Aden Rage, also jumped in to heap blame on the match official, saying he failed to observe objectivity. In another development, the encounter that pitted Simba and Polisi Morogoro on Wednesday at the Jamhuri Stadium here fetched 24.6m/-.
Morogoro Regional Football Association (MRFA) Secretary General, Hamis Semka said yesterday that the amount however, failed to beat the 38m/- raised when Yanga played Mtibwa at the same venue in September. He said out of the revenue collected each team earned 5.8m/- after other deductions as per gate collection rules.