By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwe international forward Prince Dube has been handed an improved contract by Azam FC to try and keep him at the Tanzanian club.
The free-scoring forward has transformed himself as the deadliest striker in Tanzanian football.
His flurry of goals since his return from injury has again caught the attention of many suitors.
Sources say Tanzanian giants, Simba SC, are now interested to try and woo the Warriors striker from their rivals.
In October last year, as Dube’s profile soared rapidly across the continent, Moroccan giants, Raja Casablanca, became the latest club to target him.
They came with a US$1 million offer to secure his signature.
The interest came at a time Dube had scored 20 goals in his last 21 competitive games for club and country.
In his first three weeks in the Tanzanian top-flight league, he scooped the Vodacom Premier League Best Player of the Month award after scoring three goals in his first four games.
It marked a stunning turnaround for the Zimbabwe international forward, whose never-say-die spirit has seen him rise from the ashes of being dumped by South African Premiership side SuperSport United.
However, an injury meant the suitors were forced to take a back seat, as they were unsure as to whether he would return to action still firing on all cylinders.
But with Dube seemingly scoring at a higher ratio than before his injury, the vultures have revived their interest.
Yesterday, he continued with his rich vein of form by scoring a brace, during a Tanzania FA Cup game.
The goals came on the day news broke out that Azam FC have lined up an improved contract, meant to fend off competition, from local rivals.
The 24-year-old forward was on target to lead his side to a 2-1 win over Polisi Tanzania.
He has now taken his tally, in all competitions, to 14 goals this season.
Dube is currently leading the Golden Boot race, in the Tanzania Vodacom Premier League, where he has been on target 12 times.
Information gatheredd from Tanzania indicate Dube is being stalked by free-spending rivals, Simba SC, who are also the reigning league champions.
However, in a bid to protect their priced asset, Azam FC have also flexed their financial muscle, and engaged Dube in fresh contract talks.
His contract still had a year left but Azam have given him an improved offer and sources said he has agreed to extend his contract.
“The club are prepared to quadruple his wages, due to his performances in his first season, in Tanzania,’’ the sources said.
“They have dangled a huge package, which was difficult to resist.
“Prince realises that the club have given him a good platform, and put his welfare first, and he has signed.’’
Club chief executive, Abdulkarim Amin, this week told journalists in Tanzania that they would not sell Dube, to any of their rivals, who include Simba SC and Young Africans.
“In short, Prince Dube is very much an Azam player, and he is not being sold, at any cost, here in Tanzania.
“If he leaves then it will be abroad,” said Amin.
The former Highlanders star has illuminated the Tanzanian league with his goal-scoring prowess.
Yesterday, he struck in the 25th minute and then completed his brace, in the fourth round of the knockout game against Tanzania Polisi, with a 65th minute penalty.
Azam’s chances of winning the league title have been fading in a three-horse race which features Young Africans and defending champions Simba SC.
But, had Dube not been sidelined, for two months, by a horrible injury, it’s very likely Azam would have been in full control, of the championship race.
It’s a measure of how good he has been that he still leads the Golden Boot race, despite two months away from action, as he recovered from an arm injury.
Dube’s winner, which floored giants Young Africans in their last league match on Sunday night, is a contender for the Goal of the Season.
It was Dube’s 12th league goals of the season. The Simba duo of Meddie Kagere and John Bocco are in second, and third place, in the race for the Golden Boot, on 11 and 10 goals. The Zimbabwean has also chipped in with six assists.
He recently told The Herald his primary objective was to help Azam achieve their targets. But, he said, if he gets a chance to try and win some individual awards, he will battle for that. The Herald