Yanga need a resounding win over the Egyptians to stay in an advantageous position ahead of the return leg match that will be played in Cairo two weeks later.
Beating Zamalek, though, turns out to be a rather tough challenge to Yanga, based on the latter’s current level of performance in the Mainland Premier League and its preparations for the game.
Yanga’s current performance has so far been less satisfactory as per the comments issued out by the team’s head coach, Kostadin Papic, and that casts doubt on the Jangwani Street side’s chances to overcome the Egyptians.
Yanga has struggled against modest opponents in the Mainland Premier League, despite claiming three wins and a draw in four outings, a situation that prompted Papic to request seriousness in his squad with a view to improving performance.
The Jangwani Street side kicked off the second round of the league with a 2-2 draw against Moro United, garnered a 3-1 win over JKT Ruvu, and then defeated Mtibwa Sugar by the same margin before edging Ruvu Shooting Stars 1-0 last Sunday.
Yanga will, however, be armed with some of crucial weapons in their bid to secure victory over Zamalek and that include the home ground advantage and plenty of cheering supporters, thus, it is down to the home side to fully exploit the opportunities. A tough task awaits Yanga today as Zamalek are seemingly determined to recapture their glorious record in the continental tournament after watching rivals, Al Ahly, hold sway for some time.
Zamalek are expected to line up their fearsome attacking force comprising Amr Zaki, Ahmed Hossam ‘Mido’ and Benin international, Razak Omotoyosi to tear up Yanga defence and score crucial goals for their side. Yanga defence made up of skipper, Shadrack Nsajigwa, Stephano Mwasika, Athuman Iddi and Nadir Haroub, for that matter, will have to deploy extra effort in a bid to stop the experienced Zamalek strikers from troubling keeper, Shaaban Kado.
Kado, who was restricted to a reserve keeper for long spells in the first round of the Mainland Premier League, is expected to maintain his place in the starting line up following the absence of Ghanaian shot stopper, Yaw Berko, who is recuperating from an injury he picked during the preparations for the Mainland Premier League’s second round and continental assignments early last month.
Papic is expected to keep his faith in a striking trio of Ghanaian, Kenneth Asamoah, Ugandan, Hamisi Kiiza and Zambian,
Davies Mwape, to torment Zamalek defence and score goals for the home side.
The Serbian tactician has largely been deploying the same attacking trio for most of his side’s campaign in the second round of the Mainland Premier League, whilst featuring local lad, Jerry Tegete, as a second half substitute, a trick that has, however, not been that much fruitful as the strikers were guilty of wasting plenty of close chances in matches.
Yanga midfield comprising Juma Seif, Omega Seme and Rwandan international Haruna Niyonzima, will have to be at its best should it manage to keep the opposing side’s midfielders at bay and coordinate with Asamoah, Kiiza and Mwape.