AZAM FC Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije is delighted to face TP Mazembe calling it a good test to his youthful side. Azam face TP Mazembe in the quarter final match of the 2019 CECAFA Kagame Cup in Kigali, Rwanda today.
The two teams go head to head in one of the quarterfinal games to be played in Kigali, Rwanda whose winner will earn a ticket into the semi-finals of the lucrative tournament.
Speaking yesterday prior to sparkling match, Ndayiragije said battling Mazembe is a good weighing platform for his side as they aim to defend the title for the third time consecutively.
“Here in Kigali, the team which is popular is Azam and not Mazembe because we are the defending champions as such, we need to make sure that we excel by defeating them,” he said.
He added that the game will help him to know more about his squad concerning where they are strong and weak ahead of the approaching international and domestic busy schedules awaiting them.
Moreover, the coach said they are using Kagame Cup as part of assessing his squad by thoroughly scrutinising fitness levels of the players. “Every match here gives us something to learn and to add to what we already have.
The fact that we have no injuries in the team is another crucial advantage for us to overpower our opponents tomorrow (today),” said Ndayiragije. He then urged Azam supporters to continue backing the team in all their upcoming games his team will be subjected to.
To reach this far, Azam recorded a goalless draw against Kenyan side Bandari FC on Friday which consequently see the latter being eliminated from the tournament.
Azam won one match (1-0) against Mukura Victory Sports, lost 1-0 to Kampala City and drew their third battle against Bandari FC to book their slot into the last eight.
On the other hand, Mazembe triumphed in two games of their three matches, losing 1-0 to Rayon Sports before registering two back to back wins against KMC (1-0) and a massive 6-1 thrashing of Atlabara FC.
However, debutants KMC who also represented the country in the competition were bundled out despite their 1-0 victory over Rayon Sports on Saturday.
The Kinondoni based club were exclusively using the contest to shape up their squad as they prepare for busy schedule which will see them trading in the Mainland Premier League, CAF Confederation Cup and Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) in that order. In another quarter final encounters, Gor Mahia will face Zambia’s Green Eagles in Kigali on Wednesday.