PREMIER League giants have continued to rush for top transfer targets, with Simba once again raiding Azam FC after snatching their two reliable players; first-choice goalkeeper Aishi Manula and right-back Shomari Kapombe.
With the close-season transfer window officially set to open in June 15, there has already been a host of signings among top teams, but Manula and Kapombe’s move to Simba tops the list.
Manula and Kapombe, who returns to the club for the second stint, have reportedly inked a two-year deal each as the Reds have again demonstrated ambitious efforts to reinforce their ranks ahead of marking their return to international football.
Manula apparently suggesting he was leaving Azam after the club’s management failed to recognise his value and the fact that the club missed out on two chances to represent Mainland Tanzania in CAF club competitions.
“I will not renew my contract with Azam as the current contract expires on July 31, this year. I have decided to leave because the leaders have failed to recognise my ability, despite showing a lot of commitment they have offered me only 20m/- and that clearly shows that they don’t recognise what I’m doing for the club,” said Manula.
“But also I’m leaving Azam because the team will not be participating in international competitions next season, at this level I cannot play in a team that is not playing in international competitions, I’m a national team goalkeeper, therefore I must play where I will be seen in most parts of the continent,” he added.
Manula and Kapombe follow on the footsteps of towering striker John Bocco, who recently crossed to Msimbazi Street side from Azam on a two-year deal, ending his long-standing career with the Ice-Cream makers.
All players have opted against renewing their contracts with Azam which expire at the end of this month. Contract talks between the club and the players fell through after Azam refused to spend big to keep them.
The club has adopted a new cost-effective transfer policy. Manula, currently the first choice keeper for senior national team, Taifa Stars, came through youth ranks at the club and was promoted to the first team in 2013.
Under former English trainer Stewart Hall, Manula would soon replace Mwadini Ali as first choice goalkeeper. Manula’s arrival cast doubt on the future Ghanaian goalkeeper Daniel Agyei and his understudy Manyika Peter as one of them could be pushed out of the club.
Nonetheless, he is expected to strengthen Simba’s goalkeeping department with his unquestionable ability between the posts. Simba will be the country’s flag bearers at next year’s CAF Confederation Cup after almost four years out of continental club competitions.
The club has been active in the transfer market, making two more signings including Jamal Mwambeleko from Mbao and Yussuf Mlipili from Toto African. The Reds are also said to be on the verge of signing their former Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi.
Meanwhile, looking to fill the void left by Manula, Azam have acted swiftly by recruiting Mbao FC custodian Benedict Haule, who has signed a two year contract.
Haule who had a stint with Azam as young player, becomes the second player to join the Dar es Salaam tycoons from Mbao FC after the club roped in Salmin Hoza.
The Chamazi-based outfit have now recruited four new players having already signed Waziri Junior from Toto African and Mbaraka Yussuf from Kagera Sugar.