For a long time, Tanzanian clubs have failed to compete in both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup tournaments.
Azam in CAF Confederation Cup
The lucrative group stage is a step too high but embarrassingly our clubs often crash out in the preliminary rounds of these competitions.
For two consecutive years, Azam have been eliminated in the preliminary rounds while Yanga have narrowly come short in the first round in the same period.
While it remains true that Tanzanian clubs are unable to make impact in continental competitions due to their inferior financial status, however poor signing remains the biggest overriding factor.
North Africans club dominate CAF Club competition not only because of their financial muscles but also their keen eye in identifying talented individuals. Simply put they don’t mess when it comes to strengthening their squads with talents outside their borders.
They are many examples of clubs with less budgets than Azam and Yanga but seem to punch above their weight by at least knocking at the door of the group stage of the CAF competitions.
A change in foreign player’s quota by the football federation means our representatives in the continental stage next year, Azam and Yanga will be fielding seven foreign players.
Advocate of the change in the foreign player’s quota wanted an increase of foreign imports in our league hoping it will help our big clubs advance in the continental campaign.
Azam who will be representing the country in the CAF Confederation Cup and Yanga who will take part in the more competitive and lucrative Champions League, have exhausted their foreign quota.
With the mini-transfer window opened, the question being asked will Azam and Yanga offload some foreign players to open room for quality addition to boost their chances of making inroads in the continental campaign next year?
Both have good squads but many will agree that they not good enough to push for a deep run of the tough continental campaign.
Compared to last season, both have added a bit of quality in their squads. Azam have added Jean Mugiraneza from Rwanda and Allan Wanga, the former proving his worth in their Cecafa Kagame Cup triumph.
However, deep down, the addition of Wanga, Mugiraneza and Racine Diouf from Senegal is not enough to make a big change in their squad’s strength ahead of next year’s campaign. Wanga is having bit-part role in the league while Diouf has been restricted to very few appearances.
Mugiraneza has added steel in the midfield but they still need a creative midfielder to unlock defences. A superior striker to Kipre Tcheche is also needed. Who will they drop to make room for those addition is a big question only coach Stewart Hall can answer.
On the side of Yanga, the addition of Donald Ngoma has been a big boost in their attacking force. Another Zimbabwean import, Thaban Kamusoko is also a good signing for the club. However, they seemed to have wasted their foreign slot with the signing of a rarely used defender, Vicent Bossou from Togo.
It is a puzzling signing, but again that is football. Brazilian import, Andrey Coutinho is another foreigner rotting on the bench. Coutinho is far from being a poor player but a foreign slot should not be wasted on a player who is not being used by the coach.
Of the two, Yanga have the easiest decision of boosting their squad by releasing unused foreigners. They can add a holding midfielder and another reliable striker to reduce the over reliance on Amissi Tambwe and Donald Ngoma.
If Azam and Yanga are serious with making deep runs in their continental campaigns next year, this is the time to make tough decision to strengthen their squads. Short of that, early exit is what awaits them once again.