Azam FC started their preparations for the 2020/21 Tanzanian Mainland League on a high after defeating fellow top tier side Namungo FC 2-1 in a pre-season friendly played at Azam Complex in Chamazi on Sunday, with Andrew Simchimba netting the winner following a miserable goalkeeping error.
The 2014 champions were keen to test their new players against their opponents who are restructuring for the Caf Confederation Cup next season. With the fans filling the stadium, neither of the two teams were prepared to lose the game.
Both teams started the game on a high note, aiming at getting an early goal amid cheers from the excited fans.
However, in the first half an hour, the strikers could not get it right owing to good defending as well as good goalkeeping by the custodians.
In the 37th minute, the scoreboard changed when Zambia attacker Obrey Chirwa finally managed to beat the defenders and the goalkeeper to hand the 2018/19 FA Cup champions a lead. The 26-year-old was in fine form last season and scored 12 league goals to inspire the Ice Makers to a third-place finish.
Never Tigere saw the striker in a good position, crossed the ball to him, and miscommunication between the goalkeeper and defender allowed the forward to tap the ball into an empty net for the only goal of the first 45 minutes.
Namungo came in the second half an improved side and upped their tempo in search of the equalizer. It came in the 57th minute when the unmarked Steven Say nodded home a cross from the left.
Azam were not ready to spoil the mood of their fans and they intensified their attacks in search of the second goal. Their efforts paid dividends in the 66th minute courtesy of Simchimba.
The custodian failed to get hold of a shot, and the ball fell to the forward, who had no problem guiding the ball into the net.
The Chamazi-based side who will now be intensifying their training in preparations for the new season which will start early in September.
For Namungo, the match will highlight the areas they should improve before their upcoming continental assignments.
They managed to get to the final of the FA Cup where, despite losing 2-1 to Simba, they qualified for the Caf Confederation Cup.