YOUNG Africans midfielder, Haruna Niyonzima said they will do whatever it takes to win the Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) title, saying it is the only chance for them to claim the silverware this season.
The Rwandese playmaker was a hero against Gwambina FC as he scored a classic goal to help Yanga post a slim 1-0 victory against hard fighting Mwanza based side at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
Yanga marched into the last eight phase of ASFC, whose winner will represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Speaking after the match Niyonzima said they now have no other option other than to focus much on winning the ASFC.
Yanga came into the match in the backdrop of posting four straight draws in the Mainland Premier League.
“We played under a lot of pressure especially after posting four consecutive draws in the league that is why we were not fully settled but the most important thing is that we have managed to go through into the next round,” Niyonzima said.
He added that after reaching the quarterfinals, it is now the duty of the team’s technical bench to ensure that they correct all the mistakes displayed during the match in order to do better in other upcoming games.
“As of now, the only guarantee for us to get something tangible this season is to make sure that we excel in ASFC and we will do our part as players to claim the title,” he said.
On his part, Yanga Head Coach, Luc Eymael said the win was the most important thing to them, while praising their opponents for the good showdown they displayed.
“They (Gwambina) have talented and clever players who are not afraid to play good football. They know how to buy time as the game unfolds but for us, winning is crucial,” he said.
He further said even in Europe, FA Cup games are unpredictable as low division teams have ability to upset big clubs, insisting that the one day training session they had prior to facing Gwambina was not enough for them.
His counterpart for Gwambina FC Fulgence Novatus conceded the defeat, saying they were not lucky to emerge winners on the day despite dominating the game.
“We misused several scoring chances against few created by Yanga, who used one of the chances to get their winning goal.
They simply used their experience well to get the goal and win the match,” Novatus said. He further revealed that their game plan was to score in the opening minutes of the match but that never worked out for them.
Novatus also pointed out that he rested five key players in his squad ahead of their upcoming crucial First Division League (FDL) battle, saying playing in the top flight league next season is their top priority.
Gwambina currently tops the FDL group B chart with 31 points after 15 matches after stamping nine wins, four draws and two losses to sit six points above the second placed Geita Gold, who have 25 points after 15 outings as well.
The finals of ASFC will be played at Nelson Mandela ground in Rukwa.