Africa: Mazembe Toughen Yanga-Bejaia Tie

Young Africans now hold an important key to semi final stage of the CAF Confederations Cup, following DR Congo's TP Mazembe 1-0 home win over MO Bejaia of Algeria.

The loss to TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi forces Algerian MO Bejaia to put much weight to the August 13 clash with the Tanzanian envoys at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

With five points after playing four matches, MO Bejaia have tied with Medeama of Ghana on the same points, a situation that forces them to fight tooth and nail to beat Yanga at their home ground to claim three vital points.

The loss of any kind or a draw in Dar es Salaam will benefit Ghanaians who will be hosting TP Mazembe in Secondi on the same day.

Already qualified after posting 10 points, TP Mazembe's clash against hosts Medeama is likely to be a mere pride restoration, a situation that gives Medeama an advantage.

The loss of MO Bejaia on the other side brings back the Tanzanian envoys though all dwell on mathematics, speculation and luck. Luck; however holds more water in assessing Yanga's mission impossible created after the Wednesday results.

To win a place, Yanga must grab six remaining points at any cost, while also praying for a fall of its two opponents. Again, it needs them extra efforts and commitment to make that dream a reality.

Mathematically, Yanga can advance if they win against MO Bejaia and the last one away against TP Mazembe. If attained, Yanga will bag seven points that lead them to semis if Medeama and MO Bejaia draw in their last match August 26 in Algeria.At the same time Yanga should pray TP Mazembe to beat Medeama at home, while they post a win over Mo Bejaia in Dar es Salaam.

Yanga's head coach, Hans Van der Pluijm said anything is possible as he expected his team to post better results in their remaining two games to sail through or restore the pride.

However, the Dutchman admitted they faced tough opponents in the match. The head coach added the team can go further if it profitably utilises chances the players create. "I believe that we could have got something out of this game against Medeama especially in the second half when we played better and created more chances.

"It is not a lost cause for my team because the players have gained some experience and we believe that the remaining two matches will be much positive," he concluded. This is a competition and for us, all hope is not lost," he said.

Yanga, however, earned applause from the Ghanaian fans for their display. The staring defeat did not stop them to show that at least they were domestic league champions in Tanzania.

Meanwhile, a Rainford Kalaba goal gave TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo a 1-0 win over Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria on Wednesday and a CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals place.

The Zambia captain and winger scored from close range on 61 minutes to complete a move involving a run from midfield and clever passing that created space in a crowded goalmouth. Group A leaders Mazembe have 10 points after four rounds, Medeama of Ghana and Bejaia five each and Young Africans of Tanzania one.

Source: Tanzania Daily News.