Simba-Azam crowd fear put off
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THE Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has dismissed fans’ fear over ticket chaos for tomorrow’s Mainland Premier League fixture between hosts Azam FC and Simba SC at low-capacity Chamazi Complex in Dar es Salaam.

Azam’s Chamazi Complex has the capacity of accommodating 7,000 fans and is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Azam FC.

The ground has been recognised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is used to host international matches but for years, it was restricted by the TFF to host matches involving Simba and young Africans because the two clubs command huge fan-base.

However, TFF and Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) took a twist on Sunday and approved that Simba and yanga should play their away matches against Azam at Chamazi Complex TFF has been accused of putting football politics and commercial considerations above the needs of ordinary fans, after it emerged most of fans would miss out on tickets for the showdown.

TFF’s decision to take Simba and yanga matches to Azam Complex was branded ‘ludicrous’ and ‘foolhardy’ by yanga General Secretary, Charles Boniface Mkwasa. Mkwasa said much as it was a good idea and that Azam have the rights to play matches at their home turf, it remains too risky to host Simba and yanga at such a smaller venue.

Mkwasa said safety and security of players, fans and officials should highly be taken into account to avoid tragedies. He insisted that it will be tricky to accommodate Simba and yanga fans at a venue with a smaller capacity unless proper arrangements were made to make sure that only fans with tickets in accordance with the capacity are allowed into the venue and those without tickets should not be allowed anywhere close to the stadium.

“It is clear that Simba and yanga have huge fan base and hosting their matches at quite a smaller venue like Azam Stadium needs some careful organization,” he said.

Despite repeated warnings from Simba and yanga management and supporters’ alike about the risks of staging the fixture at low-capacity venue, TFF has stood to its guns, insisting that safety and well-being of fans will highly be taken into account.

Speaking in a press briefing at the TFF Headquarters in the city yesterday, the federation and FIFA Security Officer, Inspector Hashim Abdallah, said they have already put in place strong measures to ensure that people arrive and leave the action arena without encountering problems.

“Safety and security at Azam Complex in Chamazi is the number one priority for the Saturday (tomorrow) match between Azam and Simba,” said Abdallah.

“We understand that many people are eager to go and watch the big match direct from the stadium, hence, the carrying capacity of the stadium will be highly tested. Let me urge those people who are planning to experience the mouthwatering game at Azam Complex to arrive earlier because once the limit number of spectators is reached, nobody will have access to enter the venue,” said Abdallah.

He warned; “Police presence with special trained dogs will be deployed both inside and outside the stadium to ensure peace, safety and security are maintained. If one has no ticket, then he or she should remain at home as fans will not be allowed roaming outside the stadium.”

A mass exodus of supporters from Msimbazi side is expected to descend on Chamazi, with the club’s Head of Media and Communication, Haji Manara urging fans to turn up in their number for the match.

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