THE Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has clarified that Azam FC have all the rights and are free to sale mercurial winger, Mrisho Ngassa to Sudan's giants El Merreikh.
The new development comes just a day after Azam and El Merreikh announced a $75,000 (about 120m/-) deal to trade the player, who is currently on loan with Mainland Premier League defending champions Simba.
The Msimbazi Street side paid Azam 25m/- for his services at the beginning of the 2012/13 Vodacom Premier League and are paying him a monthly salary of 2m/-. Simba also reportedly offered Ngassa with a brand new car.
A tug-of-war ensured between Simba and Azam, over who has the legal rights to own the player but the TFF General Secretary, Angetile Osiah, leapt to the clarification, insisting that the available document at the federation clearly shows that Ngassa is still a bonafide Azam FC player.
"Certainly, the TFF is not involved in the transfer of the player but the federation will in the end be involved in issuing the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and it is clear that a club with legal rights to own Ngassa will be free to trade the player through the Transfer Matching System (TMS)," said Osiah.
TFF was forced to issue this clarification after Simba reportedly submitted a protest to the federation and wanted the TFF not to process Azam's ITC request. Simba argued that Ngassa is still their authentic player because he still has valid contract with the Msimbazi Reds club until May 21, next year. Simba's Information Officer, Ezekiel Kamwaga described Azam's move as 'highest degree of un-sportsmanship'.
In first place, Kamwaga said, Azam should have approached Simba to discuss Ngassa's transfer deal in detail and reach amicable agreement, insisting that they will fight to the bitter end. "In fact, as I speak, already Chairman Rage (Ismail Aden) and Chairman of Players' Registration Committee, Hans-Poppe are in Kampala, Uganda to deal with the saga," said Kamwaga.
The 23-year-old winger who reportedly signed a two-year deal with the 18-times Sudanese Champions and he will earn $4000 per month. It was also reporter that Ngassa will leave for Khartoum soon after the tournament ends on Saturday to undergo medical before finalizing his move.
Ngassa is currently participating in the ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala where he's among the top scorers in the tournament with five goals along-side his team-mate John Bocco. Ngassa has been extremely impressive in the Challenge Cup At just under 5ft 4in, Ngassa may lack physical presence but more than makes up for his diminutive stature with blistering pace and a level of skill far higher than that of any of his international teammates.
Although Tanzania is far from being a hotbed of footballing talent, Ngassa did briefly register on the radar of the European game when he attended a trial at West Ham United in April 2010. Despite being given a two-week opportunity to impress at Upton Park, Gianfranco Zola and his coaching staff declined the opportunity to offer the jinking winger a contract, denying Ngassa the chance to become the first Tanzanian footballer to ply his trade in Europe.
Following his trial with the East London outfit, the player turned down proposed moves to both Lov-Ham Fotball of the Norwegian second-tier and Al-Merreikh, one of Sudan's most prestigious clubs, eventually opting to move within Tanzania from Young Africans FC to Azam FC, his current side, for 58m/- (roughly £30,000).