Africa: Young Africans SC Can Make History in Africa

Dar es Salaam - No major local team has ever won any of the major CAF Club tournaments.

But Yanga, Azam, Simba and other top flight teams could win the continental events, only if they invest heavily in football.

It has been disappointing to see our local teams being eliminated from CAF Club tournaments at very early stages.

Tanzanian teams and others in the East African region have been facing a major obstacle whenever they face teams from Arab countries.

For-example, despite a massive investment, Azam FC could not penetrate to the next level of the CAF Confederation Cup, after being shown the door by Esperance of Tunisia.

The same team had their last year's CAF Champions League's mission also broken by El-Merreikh of Sudan.

With the exception of Simba Sports Club, who have eluded the CAF Club tournaments for about four consecutive years, Yanga and Azam have of late been affected by the Arab teams' dominance, whose level of football (ranking) is very high compared to Tanzanian teams.

This is because many of the teams from Arab countries have invested heavily in football, hence attaining high ranks in both Fifa and CAF.

Although our local teams have been trying their best to sneak into highest level of the competitions but to no avail, the country and East and Central Africa's sole representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, Dar es Salaam Young Africans have now dared to show that where there is a will is where there is determination.

Yanga have also shown that football of a recent years all is about results because anything can happen, as those regarded to be under-dogs, are also appearing to be forces to reckon with.

Yanga, who dropped to the CAF Confederation Cup, after being shown the door from CAF Champions leagues by Al-Ahly of Egypt (3-2 aggregate) , have now shown an excellent team performances consistently, in what the Jangwani boys may now overshadow outstanding major teams like former African champions, TP Mazembe in the CAF Confederation Cup campaign.

This year, Yanga, may perhaps, make a step too to the semifinal, final and even emerge an eventual winner as chances are still there.

Yanga have a strong squad of powerful and skillful players to call on, and have shown no sign in recent years of the surrendering at early stages, like what plagued their past campaigns.

Their secret weapon is undoubtedly their disciplined head coach Dutch Hans Pluijm, the man who gave the club two consecutive titles of the Mainland Vodacom Premier League as well the FA Cup, apart from progression to the group stage of CAF Confederation Cup to win accolades.

Pluijm aims at comprehensively building Yanga into an attacking force that can once again pose a threat on the continental club tournament.

Despite of the milestone of reaching to the group stage of CAF Confederation Cup, Pluijm was quoted as saying that his players should not relax because it is not yet over.

Pluijm's side had decided to re-camp in Turkey for training to prepare for the eagerly awaited tomorrow's match against five-time African champions, TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in their second match of the CAF Confederation Cup's group stage.

Despite losing 0-1 in their away match to Algeria's Mo Bejaia in the first match of the group stage, Pluijm believes that was not the end of the road, building a confidence to his players that Mazembe are beatable, just like any other teams despite being superior to his club level.

Yanga, who also set a camp in Turkey before they lost to MO Bejaia, have repeated the same feat of 1998 when the club reached the same level of group stage.

"My aim, just like any other coach, is to see my team progress further,"

"I have always been insisting on my players to play an attacking football, with speed, power and technique for us to score points," Pluijm has always been quoted as saying.

He believes that it's not going to take one day or six months to make Yanga one of the major winning teams in Africa, but that needs time.

He says his players have been improving despite missing some clear goals in their previous assignments. "Missing goals means good signs of improvements," he said this when Yanga beat GD Sagrada Esperance of Angola 2-0 in the first leg of the 2nd 1/8th round early last month at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Young Africans have been cautioning his players over complacency as they should not expect an easy going.

Yanga's strength lies in the depth of their very hard-fighting squad and in the experience built up through good performances and never-say-die spirit.

Experienced players like Zimbabwean Donald Ngoma, header wizard, Burundian Amisi Tambwe and local talented players like striker Simon Msuva and others will also help Yanga secure points.

However, the club experienced defenders, captain Nadir Haroub "Cannavaro" and Kelvin Yondani will have to do an extra job to stop among TP Mazembe's fierce roving and energetic strikers, Tanzanian Thomas Ulimwengu, whose spell at the Congolese club has been of a great achievement, winning among major titles of African Championship.

Though Yanga have stumbled in previous CAF Club tournaments, they have nonetheless looked by far as among fearful and powerful team that can challenge other competitors, including Mazembe .

Mazembe have been much more successful, winning the premier African club competition in 1967, 1968, 2009, 2010 and last year.

Mazembe will this time around feature in the event without their former sensational Tanzania striker Mbwana Aly Samatta, who has moved to KRC Genk of Belgium for his maiden spill in European football.

The Congolese players were expected to arrive in Dar es Salaam late in the evening yesterday for the tomorrow's match, billed to be tough and exciting.

Yanga are in group A with TP Mazembe, Mo Bejaia and Chana's Medeana FC.

Group B comprises of Kawbab Athletics of Morocco, Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia and Al-Ahly Tripoli of LibyaAlready the Confederation of African football (CAF) has picked Yanga-Mazembe match officials.

Janny Sikazwe of Zambia will be the centre referee. He will be assisted by Jarson Emiliano dos Santos from Angola (line 1) and Berhe O'Michael of Eritrea (line 2).

Wellington Kaoma of Zambia will be a reserve referee.

The match commissioner will be Celestin Ntangungira from Rwanda while the main match's coordinator will be Sidio Jose Mugadza from Mozambique.

The match will kick off at 4.pm.

Source: The Citizen