YOUNG Africans and Zambia’s Zanaco FC cross swords in CAF Champions League (CL), first round, first leg clash this afternoon at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Yanga and Zanaco resume their quest for the ticket for the group stage of the continental top tier club championships with both looking for a win.
Ahead of the clash, Yanga technical bench declared that they will go for an ‘all out war’, seeking hefty victory. A comfortable win at home is crucial for Yanga, since it will place them in a good position to land ticket into group stage of the tournament.
Yanga under the tutelage of Zambian tactician George Lwandamina ‘Chicken’ are hoping to utilise the home ground advantage well. On the other hand, Zanaco are relishing the reunion with their compatriots Lwandamina as well as players Aubrey Chirwa and Justin Zullu.
Speaking about today’s match, Lwandamina told his players to work hard for a win, saying him being a Zambian does not guarantee victory as that doesn’t mean he knows everything about Zambian football.
He called for Yanga fans also to do their part by supporting the team throughout the game. His assistant Juma Mwambusi told journalists at a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Thursday that there will be no let up in the clash against the Zambian side.
Mwambusi said the technical bench took time to assess their side’s chances against the Zambian side, saying players are in high spirit ready for the battle. However, he expressed his full respect for Zanaco.
He said it will be a tough game because Zanaco is among the top clubs in Zambia, but said that they are well prepared and targeting for a convincing victory, while also keeping a clean sheet.
“We will go for as many goals as we can, while also playing cautiously not to concede a goal at home so that the second leg becomes a mere formality,” he said.
Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba is relishing the reunion with Lwandamina as it will be the first time the two Zambians face each other at continental level since Lwandamina left Zesco last November and joined Yanga, replacing Dutchman Hans van der Pluijm as the team head coach.
“Lwandamina is somebody we know, somebody we have worked with, we know his philosophy,” Numba told the Post of Zambia on Thursday. “I think that is what gives us encouragement, as we go there I do not think he is going to change much.
But it is a different game altogether.” Numba is hopefully that his side would be able to come up with positive result if they go with the same attitude they went with it in Rwanda when they faced APR.
The Zambian champions are hoping to emulate Zesco United’s success in last year’s edition, of the competition when the latter became the first club from the country to reach the semi-finals.
To reach this stage, Yanga eliminated Comoro’s Ngaya de Mde with 6-2 aggregate. They won 5-1 away in Moroni but were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Zanaco booked their date with the defending Tanzanian champions, after making it out of the preliminary round, with a 1-0 away win over APR of Rwanda last month. Referee from Djibouti - Djamal Aden Abdi, who will be assisted by Hassan Yacin and Farhan Salime, will be in charge of Yanga versus Zanaco match.
The fourth official is Souleiman Djamal and the match commissioner is Luleseged Asfaw from Ethiopia. Lwandamina will make his first competitive visit back home to Zambia on March 19 for the final leg to be played at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
Winner over both legs will qualify to the Champions League group stage while the loser will be relegated to the Caf Confederation Cup last 16.