Rivalry Reignited, Azam and Coastal Union Go Head-to-Head

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Azam players celebrating Fiesal Salum Abdallah goal against Arta Solar 7 at Chamazi Complex.

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In a pivotal NBC Premier League encounter, Azam, fresh from dropping points for the first time, will journey to Mkwakwani  to lock horns with Coastal Union this evening. A win is crucial for both teams to alleviate the intensifying pressure and to boost their morale for the upcoming matches.

Coastal Union, managed by Mwinyi Zahera, is also striving to secure their first win of the season. With four matches in the books, Wagosi wa Kaya  find themselves second from bottom in the table.

They  have suffered two losses in their opening four league matches, with their most recent outing a goalless draw against newly promoted Tabora United last week. As a result, the hosts are currently enduring a four-match winless run.

Consequently, only bottom club Tanzania Prisons who were scheduled to host Sinba yesterday, is the only team to have picked up fewer points.

Following a good defensive display against Tabora United that earned a first clean sheet of the season, centre-back duo Lameck Lawi and Abdallah Michael  are expected to be trusted again, while Miraj Abdallah and Jakckson Shiga will cover them either side.

As for Azam, they saw their perfect start to the season  ended at four games when they were held to a goalless draw away to Dodoma Jiji on Tuesday.

In team news ahead of the game, Midfielder Yannick Bangala has been ruled out with a muscle injury and will join Prince Dube and Abdallah Kheri on the sidelines.

Coach Bruno Ferry and Yousouph Dabo are set to stick with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with full-backs Lusojo Mwaikenda and Cheikh Sidibe operating either side of central defenders Daniel Amoah and Malickou Ndoye, while Ally Mohamed will hope to replace Yannick Bangala in centre-midfield.

Idris Mbombo, who is yet to open his league account this season, is expected to continue as the central striker, with Allasane Diao, Feisal Salum and Gibrill Sillah  set to form the front three supporting  the Congolese international.

In head-to-head stats, Azam and Coastal Union have met in 20 league matches since 2010. The Ice Cream Makers have claimed 11 wins compared to 4 for Wagosi wa Kaya, while five matches have been drawn.

The Tanga side has won three of 10 home matches against their Chamazi counterparts, suffering three defeats in the process. Last season’s league meetings between the teams saw Azam claim all the six points on offer.

Azam won 3-2 in Chamazi in November 2022, while the return game at Mkwakwani in June ended in a 2-0 triumph for the visitors to complete a league double.

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