Tanzania: Imminent Football Return Excites Azam FC

AZAM FC said the announcement made by president John Magufuli that he is planning to resume international air transport will enable their foreign players to jet back to complete the league season.

Tanzania, like many other countries in the world, suspended air transportation as a step to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic but over the weekend, president Magufuli said he will soon let air travel to resume which was a sigh of relief to clubs whose foreign based players were stranded in their countries.

However, in reality, it is not only Azam who have received the news of possible allowing international flights to recommence but other Mainland Premier League clubs which also have foreign players and coaches are happy with the declaration.

But, in his acknowledgement, Azam Information Officer Thabit Zakaria said the speech made by Magufuli made them happy saying seven of their foreign key players will be able to fly back in the country timely to join their colleagues in winding up the remaining league fixtures.

"What interested us most from his (Magufuli) speech was not the fact that the league is returning shortly since that is already known but when he lamented that he will soon let air transport to resume normal flights," he said.

He continued: "We have three players who are in Ghana (Razak Abalora, Dan Amoa and Yakubu Mohamed), one player in Uganda (Nicolas Wadada) and three players in Zimbabwe (Never Tigere, Bruce Kangwa and Donald Ngoma) who cannot return now until the suspension on international flights is lifted."

Moreover, Zakaria said the team's two coaches (Head Coach and fitness trainer) are in Romania while the Assistant Coach is in Burundi hence the announcement by Magufuli to let international flights land at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is good news to them.

"Our task as a club is football such that when the sport is absent, we feel as if we are no longer existing because our work is not being done hence we are all alert to see the footwork action restart on the battlefield," he said.

Recently, Azam announced the completion of renovation works at their Azam Complex arena such that all their remaining matched will unfold at their backyard.

Prior to that, they had shifted their home league matches at Uhuru Stadium and National Stadium in Dar es Salaam respectively to pave way for the pitch facelift which involved removing the old artificial turf and replace it with a new one.

Until now, Azam are second on the league table with 54 points after 28 games, trailing leaders Simba by 16 points as the latter have reaped 71 points in their 28 encounters.

Mathematically, Azam are not sidelined from winning the title even though on paper, Simba remain key favourites to retain the championship for third time in a row.

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