Azam shine in Kagame Cup

Sunday July 14 2019

Azam FC striker Mudathir Yahaya (right)

Azam FC striker Mudathir Yahaya (right) attempts a shot as KCCA defender Thomas Masiko guards during their previous match. The two teams have qualified for the quarterfinal of the Kagame Cup, which is currently taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By Majuto Omary @majutoy2k momary@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Defending champions Azam FC have qualified for the quarter finals stage in the ongoing East and Central Africa Club Championships, Kagame Cup, after collecting four points in Group B.

Azam, who won 1-0 against Mukura Victory of Rwanda and later lost to Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) recorded a barren draw against Bandari of Kenya in their final match held at the Huye Stadium. KCCA finished at the top of the Group B with seven points.

The Ugandan side won 2-1 against Mukura Victory in the final Group B match held at the Huye Stadium. They also won 1-0 against Azam FC and drew 1-1 against Bandari FC.

The results mean Azam FC may play Rwandan champions Rayon Sport or TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the quarterfinals scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Before yesterday’s match, Rayon Sport were leading Group A, followed by TP Mazembe and Rayon Sports. Azam FC head coach Etienne Ndayiragije said the competition was very tough but they hope to do better in the quarterfinals stage.

Ndayiragije said most of his players were improving and he was confident they would defend well the title despite the fact that they were facing an uphill task in the next stage.

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“It is not easy. We had very tough encounters at the group stage. We need to stretch our muscles in order to sail through the next stage,” said Burundian tactician.

Rayon Sport were scheduled to play against another Tanzanian side, Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC), who have so far collected one point. KMC lost 1-0 to TP Mazembe and later drew 1-1 against Atlabara of South Sudan.

Another Tanzania representative in the competition, KMKM of Zanzibar, are facing elimination from the competition after losing two matches. KMKM lost 2-0 against Maniem Union and later lost with the same score margin to Port of Djibouti. The team today plays against Gor Mahia of Kenya in their final group stages encounter.

Meanwhile, despite playing their hearts out, Bandari still suffered early elimination from the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Huye on Friday, a development that left team coach Bernard Mwalala dumbfounded. The Dockers finished unbeaten at the tournament with draws against Group ‘B’ rivals Tanzania’s Azam, Uganda’s KCCA and hosts Mukura Victory, but this proved nowhere near enough to take them through.

On Friday evening, the coastal-based side failed to beat defending champions Azam FC with the match ending goalless. The result left the Kenyan team with three points from as many matches and without a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

“It was all about luck. The ball just refused to go in,” a visibly disappointed Bandari striker Wycliffe Ochomo explained.

Friday’s contest was played before an impressive turnout at the 10,000-seater Huye Stadium, in Huye town, approximately 110km from Kigali and a further 10km off the Rwanda-Burundi border.

It also marked the second instalment of the Kenya versus Tanzania rivalry, with the initial match-up having played out recently at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where the Harambee Stars beat Taifa Stars 3-2.

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