YOUNG Africans will be seeking nothing but clear victory against Zambia’s Zesco United in CAF Champions League first round, first leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.
The reverse leg is expected two weeks later in Lusaka, Zambia and a win by Yanga in both legs will see them jumping into the group stage of the competition but if they fail to succeed, they will be demoted to the CAF Confederation Cup.
Yanga head into the fixture barely weeks into the start of the Mainland Premier League season that began with a 1-0 home loss to Ruvu Shooting on August 27th this year at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The Jangwani Street side reached this stage after beating Township Rollers of Botswana 1-0 away but they are still without a home win in the competition, following a 1-1 first leg result in Dar es Salaam. Yanga Head Coach Mwinyi Zahera has said his side is well prepared for the clash and determined to register positive results at home, to put themselves in a comfortable zone going into the second leg in Zambia.
Additionally, Zahera said he has watched Zesco United play in three matches against TP Mazembe and Zanaco hence he has gained some skills in relation to the eagerly awaited match. “The bottom line here is that we are prepared to face them and will thrive to make better use of our home ground,” said the outspoken Congolese trainer. To prepare for the clash, Yanga pitched camp in Mwanza, where they played two warm up matches.
They faced Pamba FC and Toto Africans in two friendlies which ended 1-1, 3-0 respectively, the outcome Zahera said meant nothing as far as today encounter is concerned. “People think we will approach them (Zesco United) the same way as we did against Pamba and Toto Africans which is not true.
We are playing against a good team in the continent and our plans will be different,” he said. Today’s match will present homecoming for Zesco United Head Coach George Lwandamina.
The Zambian has sounded a modest reaction to his forthcoming reunion with his ex-charges Yanga. Lwandamina is very familiar with Yanga having coached the side from December 2016 to early 2018 after leaving Zesco. He guided the capital-based club to win the Tanzania league for the 2016/17 season before a disappointing third place finish the following season.
‘Chicken’ as he is affectionately called made a U-turn to Zesco in April 2018 and has successive Zambian league titles adding to similar feats in 2015 and 2016 seasons prior to his departure for Tanzania. “No reaction (to the draw), they are next opponents that’s all, so we just have to work extra hard.
They are playing good football so we also have to continue with the direction in which we have been going,” Lwandamina said.
Zesco advanced to the round of 16 after toiling to a 2-0 away victory on August 10 and 1-0 home win on August 24 over Green Mamba of eSwatini as they battled against off-season rust.