MAINLAND champions, Young Africans are just 90 minutes away from a place at the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup, if they hold off host MC Alger in a return leg in Algeria today.
Yanga will have to defend their slim 1-0 win advantage they registered in the first leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Saturday. Zimbabwean midfielder Thaban Kamusoko’s second half strike earned Yanga the important victory.
Yanga who are the only country’s flag bearer in continental club level tournaments need a win or any kind of a draw to ensure their passage into the lucrative group stage. With one nil cushion, it will be a tough mission and the Jangwani Street side will need to dig deep to defend their lead but if Yanga manage to score an away goal today, it will be a monumental task for Algerians.
On their side the host Alger faces a tough task, trying to mount a comeback against the visitors. The home side must win more than one goal with a clean sheet. This situation makes the game tough for both sides. It is expected to be a thrilling match as Yanga will also be looking to kill ‘Magreb’ jinx.
Yanga have poor records against North African sides. They have never sailed through whenever paired against a side from Northern Africa, although that doest not mean they can not see MC Alger to kill that jinx.
Ahead of the crunch battle, Yanga Head coach George ‘Chicken’Lwandamina is fervently looking forward to the realisation of the dream to see his charges enter the group stage of the continental second tier club championship for the second year in a row.
However, the Zambian tactician will be forced to make changes in his tactical plan, with their in-form striker, Aubrey Chirwa out of the tie. The Zambian striker refused to travel with the team to Algiers, until the club pays his three months’ salary. Key defender, Togolese Vincent Bossou was declared unfit at the last minute and did not make the trip to Algiers.
With Chirwa out, Yanga will certainly miss him. The Zambian striker has recently been a key figure in the team, scoring crucial goals. He played a key role in the first leg win, playing as a lone striker. However, availability of strikers Donald Ngoma and Amissi Tambwe will provide perfect replacement for missing striker Chirwa.
Ngoma, who has just recovered played for some minutes in the first leg but Tambwe missed the previous game due to injury. Lwandamina will this time play with two strikers upfront and that means Yanga will go for an offensive game away.
Winger Simon Msuva is expected to be operating behind the two strikers, while midfielders Haruna Niyonzima and Kamusoko will feed them up. Skipper Nadir Haroub Ally and Kelvin Yondani will be at the heart of defence, to protect goalkeeper Deogratius Munishi.
Shortly before their departure, Yanga players led by skipper Haroub expressed their determination to see off the Algerians. Yanga are involved in the Confederation Cup because they were among round-of-32 casualties in the much richer, more prestigious CAF Champions League after being knocked out by Zambia’s Zanaco FC last month.
They are among 16 losers demoted to the Confederation Cup, whose 1.25 million US dollars first prize is half that of the Champions League. Other games to be played today will see two Moroccan’s side Maghreb Fez and FUS Rabat face each other, while Smouha SC plays with South African side Bidvest Wits and Egyptian side Al Masry clash against Uganda’s KCCA, whereas IR Tanger will lock horns with Horoya.
Angola’s Recreativo do Libolo will take on CNaPS Sports and Mbabane Swallows who saw off Tanzania’s Azam FC will face Congo Brazzaville’s AC Leopards.
CAF Confederation Cup group stages will have four groups of four teams each to make 16 teams, eight more than last year’s setup.