MAINLAND giants Young Africans will be eyeing nothing but a win to keep their CAF Confederation Cup Group A campaign back on track, when they host Medeama at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam this evening.
Yanga hopes of claiming a semifinal berth seems slim after suffering back to back defeats to TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on June 28th, this year and Algeria's MO Bejaia earlier last month.
The two defeats left Yanga at the bottom of Group A without a single point. They are six points behind group leaders Mazembe but mathematically it is possible for Yanga to turn around the tables and qualify into the semi-finals.
Hans van der Pluijm's side now need to win all their remaining four matches, which include two away encounters to have any chance of making it into the semi-finals. It is a scant chance for the Jangwani Street club but still, the chance of making it through was within reach and could fully be exploited if they are so determined.
The fact that the Mainland giants will play in front of their home fans today should certainly charge up the players and inspire them to win convincingly to get back into the picture. The game promises to be exciting as the two teams will chase for maximum points to get their respective campaigns back on the road. Yanga will approach the fixture as a must win to retain any hopes of reaching the semi-final of the competition after losing their two opening group games.
Van der Pluijm, who is a familiar foe, having coached Medeama in the past, is desperate for a win after the back-to-back defeats. Despite their precarious position, Pluijm has reiterated his stance that the country's sole representatives can still overcome their false start and march to their first ever Confederation Cup final.
Yanga will look to their influential defender Nadir Haroub Ali to lead them to victory over Medeama, while the string force of Zimbabwean Donald Ngoma and Zambian Obrey Chirwa will terrorise the visitors' defence.
The Jangwani Street side will be without the injured trio of Mwinyi Hajji, Deus Kaseke and Geoffrey Mwashiuya, while Amissi Tambwe, who is recovering from malaria is also likely to start. Ngoma is optimistic that they can overcome Medeama and go on to qualify for the semi-finals. "I think we still have a chance. We are going to play Medeama on Saturday (today) on our home turf and we will certainly pull out all the stops," Ngoma said.
"I strongly believe that we are not out of the competition, we have a strong team and fans should trust us. Going into the Saturday fixture, Medeama are not out of the woods as well after picking just a single point from their opening two games.
The Yellow and Mauves are in search of their first victory after losing and drawing their opening two games. They failed to make home advantage count after drawing blank against Algerian side MO Bejaia on match-day two.
A win for them at the 60,000-seater arena will put Medeama back in contention for a spot in the semi-finals of the competition. Egyptian referees to take charge of the fixture. Nour El Din will be central referee, assisted by Ayman Degaish and Samir Gamal, while fourth official is Mohamed Maarouf.
Zambian Pasipononga Liwewe will be match commissioner and referees assessor is Mfubusa Bernard. The match will be coordinated by CAF official, Peter Keith Mc Leod. Meanwhile, Maureen Odunga reports that police have promised tight security before, during and after the match between Yanga and Medeama at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.
They have strengthened security at the stadium, warning those planning to cause chaos that they will face the music. Addressing journalists yesterday, Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, Simon Sirro said that officers in uniform and undercover will be deployed at the venue to see through anyone who is going to breach the peace at the area.
"We do not allow any person to carry with them weapons and any kind of fluid while entering in the stadium," said Commander Sirro, calling upon all the people who will be going at the stadium to abide by laws.
Source: Tanzania Daily News