MAINLAND envoys in CAF confederation Cup Young Africans have dropped key striker Aubrey Chirwa in the squad which is expected to jet off today for Algeria.
Yanga will face MC Alger of Algeria in the Confederation Cup return leg playoff in Algers this weekend and a contingent of 20 players will make the trip to the North Africans nation. The club’s General Secretary, Charles Boniface Mkwasa, confirmed that Chirwa is among seven players who will not travel with the team.
However, he could not give reasons why Chirwa is not in the squad, although reports within the club suggest that the striker is sulking. It is alleged that the Zambian striker refused to join the rest in the squad, pressuring the club management to settle his three-month unpaid salaries.
With Chirwa out, Yanga will certainly miss him. The Zambian striker has recently been a key figure in the team, scoring crucial goals. He played a key role in the first leg win. In the first leg match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Saturday, Yanga registered a slim 1-0 victory.
Zimbabwean midfielder Thaban Kamusoko’s second half strike earned Yanga the important victory. However, the Jangwani Street side will need to dig deep in their return leg away, to defend their slim lead and win a place into the group stage of the continental second tier club championship.
Other players who have been left from the list according to Mkwasa are Zambian holding midfielder, Justin Zulu, who is still nursing injuries, goalkeeper, Ally Mustapha, Malimi Busungu, Matheo Anthony, Pato Ngonyani and Yusufu Mhilu.
Mkwasa named players who will travel this evening as goalkeepers Deogratius Munishi and Beno Kakolanya; defenders are Nadir Haroub, Vincent Bossou, Juma Abdul and Andrew Vincent.
Others are Oscar Joshua, Mwinyi Haji, Hassan Kessy and Kelvin Yondani, while midfielders are Thaban Kamusoko, Haruna Niyonzima, Deus Kaseke, Said Juma, Juma Mahadhi, Geoffrey Mwaishuya, Emmanuel Martin and Simon Msuva.
Strikers are Donald Ngoma and Amis Tambwe and their availability provides perfect replacement for missing striker Chirwa and a big relief for the technical bench, under Zambian, George Lwandamina.
Ngoma, who has just recovered played for some minutes in the first leg but Tambwe missed the previous game due to injury. Yanga who are the only country’s flag bearer in continental club levels tournaments need a win or draw to ensure they progress into the lucrative group stage.
However, with one nil cushion, it will be a tough mission, although any draw will earn Yanga a place into the group stage. If Yanga manage to score an away goal, it will be a monumental task for Algerians.
Yanga face a hard task ahead due to its poor records against North Africans sides. They have never sailed through whenever paired against a side from Northern Africa, although that does not mean they can not see of MC Alger to kill that jinx.
Yanga are involved in the Confederation Cup because they were among round-of-32 casualties in the much richer, more prestigious CAF Champions League after being knocked out by Zambia’s Zanaco FC last month.
They are among 16 losers demoted to the Confederation Cup, whose 1.25 million US dollars first prize is half that of the Champions League.