Tanzania’s Azam travel to Bulawayo to face Zimbabwean debutants Triangle United in the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup Round of 16 match on Saturday.
Zimbabwe pulled off a surprise with a 1-0 goal victory in the first-leg in Dar es Salaam a fortnight ago but Azam are upbeat about making a comeback away from home to extend their stay in the second-tier continental club championship.
After just 11 years in the Tanzania top-flight, Azam have risen to become one of the top teams in the country, just behind Young Africans and Simba.
This is largely due to their investment in youth players and the infrastructure at their Chamazi complex.
In the recent past, the club have attracted players from Ghana, and most of them have played integral roles, having established themselves as regular and influential players in the squad.
Currently, Azam have three players from Ghana, goalkeeper Razack Abalora and defensive duo, Daniel Amoah and Yakubu Mohammed.
Abalora, who joined in 2017 from West African Football Academy and now the first-choice goalkeeper, is enjoying his spell with the Chamazi outfit with a couple of titles to show for such as Mapinduzi Cup (twice), one Kagame Cup and FA Cup.
“I have been working hard every day to become number one. I can see my career growing each day. We are doing well in the domestic league and zonal competitions,” he said in an interview with CAFonline.com.
“The Tanzania league is very competitive, and we managed to finish second and third the past two seasons. Azam is growing as a club and my future is bright here.”
The 23-year old feels at home with compatriots Yakubu and Amoah, with the presence of the duo in defence transforming Azam in the Tanzanian top-flight.
“In the past few years, many Ghanaian players came here and for now, Razack (Abalora), Daniel (Amoah) and I have been working hard to achieve something with the club,” said Yakubu, who joined in early 2017 after stints with Ghanaian sides Tema Youth and Aduana.
Amoah joined at the same time as Abalora having impressed at Medeama, where his exploits drew the attention of domestic and international scouts.
For the trio, they are looking forward to playing in Europe and remain optimistic that might happen in the not too distant future.
“Our target is to go beyond this stage and reach the group phase in the Confed Cup. We are working hard and we believe that we can still win this second-leg match,” Abalora said.
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo