Tanzania Blow for CECAFA as Tanzania’s Azam FC withdraws from Kagame Cup

Azam FC

Tanzanian Premier League outfit Azam FC have withdrawn from the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Kagame Cup tournament set for next month.

The two-time CECAFA Kagame Cup winners have decided to sit out of the regional tournament to focus on their pre-season preparations ahead of an expected gruelling 2024/25 campaign.

According to a press release by CECAFA earlier this week, Azam were among 16 teams to take part in the tournament that was last held four years ago in Dar. The club’s head of media department, Thabit ‘Zaka Za Kazi’ Zakaria, confirmed the news in an interview with Azam TV as quoted by the Guardian.

Zakaria said that Azam have not withdrawn from the tournament but instead have requested the organisers to reschedule it to a later date in August due to pre-season logistical issues.

“Actually, we have not withdrawn from the competition, but we find the tournament dates are not friendly. So we have requested that the tournament be rescheduled. It’s not that we have withdrawn, it’s because on those dates there are other preparations that we must do for the rest of the season.

“The competition is scheduled to start on July 6, we will start training for the new season on July 5. On July 4, all our players will report for camp and on July 5 we start training.

“For players coming out of the holiday break, their initial training sessions do not include playing football but to build up their fitness and get them in shape. So you can spend the first two weeks just for that.

“Pre-season preparation is generally required to last for at least six weeks. Due to the difficult schedule that might not be possible, but at least it should not be less than four weeks. So we need four weeks, and that is the whole of July for just training before we start to play in any kind of competition.

“Therefore, we have asked if it is possible for the competition to be moved to August. They should fix a new date in August and onwards so that we can refuel our tanks ahead of a long-season journey,” he said.

Azam clinched second place in the Premier League standings, edging out Simba on goal difference, with a 2-0 away victory against Geita Gold on the final day of the campaign at Nyankumbu Ground.This result ensured Azam the right to join champions Young Africans as Mainland Tanzania’s representatives in the CAF Champions League next season.

Azam’s first competition for the new season will be the Community Shield, which kicks off on August 8, 2024, followed by the 2024/2025 CAF Champions League Preliminary Round scheduled between August 16–18, 2024.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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