Azam FC have maintained they will continue to fight for the targets they set for the 2020-21 season despite suffering their first defeat of the campaign to Mtibwa Sugar on Monday.
The Chamazi-based giants had gone for seven matches unbeaten and were sitting at the top of the 18-team league table before their impeccable start came to an abrupt end courtesy of Jaffary Kibaya’s second-half strike at Jamhuri Stadium.
Kibaya scored two minutes after the hour mark after the two sides fought hard but were unable to break the deadlock in the first half and in the first 15 minutes of the subsequent half.
Despite the defeat, Azam media officer Thabit Zakaria has maintained they will not be distracted by the outcome but will continue to fight and make sure they achieve some of the targets they set before the new season began.
“In football, you have three results, a win, draw or lose, we lost our game despite the boys putting up a very brilliant fight,” Zakaria is quoted saying by Sokaletu.
“The players did a tremendous job, they worked very hard to get us a win but it never came, the result did not come our way, we have lost our first match this season but must not stick to that, we have to plan for our next match, we don’t want to be distracted by the defeat.
“I strongly believe it is part of football to lose and win and we will continue to fight hard and achieve our targets, our focus has already shifted to the next league match, one thing I am happy about is that we have a very good squad and fans should not panic, we will bounce back.”
Against Mtibwa, Azam missed the services of key players – striker Obrey Chirwa, who has so far scored four goals, with injury and winger Salum ‘Sure Boy’ Abubakar – who was serving a one-match ban from accumulated cards.
The defeat saw Azam fail to keep a clean sheet – as they had done in six out of seven matches while goalkeeper David Mapigano was in charge - for the second time since the league began.
The Aristica Cioaba-coached side had established themselves as a ruthless team in front of goal given that they had scored 14 goals in the seven matches but were unable to breach Mtibwa’s defence which had failed to keep a clean sheet in five of their last six matches.
Mtibwa Sugar are now in position 10 with 11 points and their next game will be against Kagera Sugar on November 1 while Azam will hope to resuscitate their campaign when they host JKT Tanzania at Chamazi Sports Complex on the same day.