Azam intensify preparations for new season

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Head coach Yousouph Dabo and his assistant Bruno Ferry (Image: AzamFC)

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Azam‘s preparations for the 2023/24 campaign began last week, with the team taking the first part of pre-season preparations at Chamazi Complex. After a three-week break from club activity, the players marked their return with visits to the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar on Tuesday last week to undergo the first part of preseason, which involves medicals and general assessments.

New arrival Feisal ‘Feitoto’ Salum

On Saturday the team took to their final training session at Chamazi Complex before they travelled to Tunisia to continue getting ready for the start of the new campaign. They will stay in Tunisia for three weeks.

“Our players have done the last training session before they travel to the city of Sousse, Tunisia tomorrow for a three-week preparatory camp for the next season 2023/24.” The club updated their travelling plan.

The 2013/14 champions confirmed they will play a couple of friendly games including one against former African Champions Esperance de Tunis who they last met in 2015 in the CAF Confederation Cup group stage playoff.

Azam will start the new 2023/24 season under coach Youssouph Dabo by playing the Community Shield semi-final game against Young Africans, which will be held at Mkwakwani Stadium, Tanga on August 9. The winner between Azam and Young Africans will meet in the final with the winner of the other semi-final which will bring together Simba SC and Singida Fountain Gate FC at the same venue.

Last season, Azam finished third in the league, 19 points behind champions Young Africans and 14 points shy of first runners up Simba. They reached the Federation Cup final after edging out Simba in the semi finals but lost 1-0 to Young Africans to end up trophyless for a fourth season in a row.

In a season in which they had three different coaches, they were eliminated in the preliminary rounds of CAF Confederation Cup by Al Akhdar of Libya. Moallin who started the season was fired after only three games and replaced by Frenchman Dennis Lavagne. 

Lavagne lasted for only 45 days before falling out with the club hierarchy following a 2-1 loss to KMC. He was replaced by caretaker coach Kally Ongalla until the end of the season.

As a result the  club management made a massive clearout of both the playing unit and technical bench. The entire technical bench that included coach Kally Ongala, assistant coach Aggrey Morris, goalkeeping  coach Cadena who has since joined Simba and  fitness Coach Dr. Moadh Hiraoui was purged.

The Ice Cream makers, who last won a significant title in 2019, have four new players in their squad, with the team having acquired the services of Feisal Salum from Young Africans, Gambian winger Gibril Sillah from Raja Club Athletic, Senegalese left full-back Cheickh Sidibe from Teungueth and centre forward Alassane Diao from US Goree.

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