MAINLAND flag bearer in CAF Champions League, Young Africans face a must win situation against host Zanaco at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka today, to cruise into the next stage of the event.
Yanga will have to fight bravely away to enter group stage of the continental top tier club championship, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Zambia champions in the first leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Saturday.
A comfortable win at home was crucial for Yanga to place them in a good position to land ticket into group stage of the tournament but that did not happen.
Evergreen wing wizard, Simon Msuva scored late in the first half to give Yanga the lead, but the visitors pulled level deep in the second half though Ghanaian striker, Attram Kwame.
To go through, Yanga will now need a victory or avoid a barren draw in the return final leg today. Winner over both legs will qualify into the group stage of the continental top tier club championship, while the loser will be relegated to the Caf Confederation Cup last 16.
Despite facing an uphill task in the away game, George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina’s side is still upbeat of getting positive result in the game, although the Zambian said it was delicately poised after a 1-all draw in Dar es Salaam.
The Jangwani Street lads will be without their hit man, Burundian, Amissi Tambwe and embattled Zimbabwean striker, Donald Ngoma, who are still nursing injuries.
In their absence, coach Lwandamina is expected to deploy Zambian striker Aubrey Chirwa to partner in form slippery wing attacker, Simon Msuva.
And the team received yet another major boost with the return to fitness of midfielders Haruna Niyonzima and Thabani Kamusoko who are expected to add a bit of creativity up front, which remained wanting in the first leg.
Zambian holding midfielder, Justin Zullu will be battling to disconnect Zanaco’s attacking moves to ensure the host brings no threat in their territory.
The match will be the first return home to Zambia Lwandamina, since leaving Zesco last November. He said that the game against Zanaco will be a 50-50 affair as the tie was delicately poised after a 1-all draw in Dar es Salaam.
Lwandamina said both teams have the opportunity to go through to the next round depending on their abilities because they have an opportunity to play and suggested that the team that will be more motivated will excel.
On their side, Zanaco are hoping to make it through after gaining an away goal last weekend in Dar es Salaam. They are looking to make use of their home ground advantage where they only need a barren to sail into the group stage.
Zanaco defender Zimiliseni Moyo said they have no excuse but to qualify to the group stage of the Champions league. However, he predicted a tough match but promising to put in their best performance.
Yanga squad in Lusaka comprises goalkeepers: Deogratius Munishi and Ally Mustafa, defenders: Oscar Joshua, Mwinyi Haji Mngwali, Hassan Kessy, Juma Abdul, Vincent Bossou, Andrew Vincent, Kelvin Yondani and skipper Nadir Haroub.
Midfielders are Thabani Kamusoko, Haruna Niyonzima, Deus Kaseke, Justine Zulu, Said Juma and Juma Mahadhi while strikers are Simon Msuva, Geoffrey Mwashiuya, Aubrey Chirwa and Emmanuel Martin.
Meanwhile, former Young Africans, Coach Hans van der Pluijm yesterday official penned down a two- year contract to serve with the newly topflight league promoted side Singida United FC.
The club’s Secretary General Abdulrahman Salum Sima confirmed in a statement to the media yesterday that the Singida region based side has recruited the services of the Dutch tactician. Sima said the aim is to ensure the team excels in the next season’s league.