YOUNG Africans will be looking for positive response as they take on Azam FC in the Vodacom Premier League (VPL) clash set at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam this evening.
Yanga suffered their heaviest defeat of the season when they lost 3-0 to Kagera Sugar on Wednesday at Uhuru Stadium in the city, which was their second loss in the ongoing league.
The two teams meet for the first time this season with Azam having a slight advantage to do well after their 2-0 triumph over Lipuli FC at the same venue last Wednesday.
Azam, who are the hosts, currently sit on third slot with 29 points from 14 games after nine wins, two draws and three losses. They have so far scored 20 goals and concede 8 goals respectively.
In their past three VPL games, the ‘ice-cream makers’ side have excelled to bag in vital nine points after beating Polisi Tanzania (1-0), Singida United (2-1) and Lipuli FC (2-0).
On the other hand, Yanga still cling to the eighth place on the ladder with 25 points from 13 games after seven wins, four draws and two defeats.
From the played matches, the Jangwani Street side have scored 16 goals and concede 13 goals in the process.
After three matches, Yanga have reaped four points courtesy of a 1-0 win over Biashara United, 2-2 draw against traditional rivals Simba SC and a recent 3-0 defeat from Kagera Sugar.
Matches involving Azam and Yanga have always been tough and thrilling.
Since Azam were promoted to the top flight football in 2008, they have played Yanga 22 times in the league in which, the Jangwani Street side has slight edge above their opponent.
Yanga have won eight matches, lost seven and registered seven draws against Azam, which means they have collected 31 points, while Azam have won seven matches, lost eight and drew seven.
It means, Azam have collected 28 points against Yanga.
To prove that the matches involving the two sides have always been as closely contested battles, both have scored a total of 29 goals against the other during their 22 clashes in the league.
However, speaking yesterday here, Yanga Vice-Chairman Fredrick Mwakalebela said the team is ready for today's match to bring back confidence within the squad.
“We had a meeting with the technical bench and Head Coach, (Luc Eymael) said he has seen how Azam played their previous match against Lipuli, something which gives him confidence to do well tomorrow (today),” Mwakalebela said.
He also highlighted that the team's Congolese striker, David Molinga, who was initially announced to be among the players to have been dropped by the club during the just concluded mini transfer window has been reinstated in the team.
“Molinga is still our player and his name is available in the database of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) as a bonafide legal player of Yanga and he has been training since Thursday with his teammates,” he said.
Moreover, Mwakalebela urged more Yanga fans from the nearby areas to come in big number to rally behind their team throughout the tough game, which somehow is a must win for them if they really want to be title contenders this season.
He then lauded fans mentality after succumbing to a 3-0 defeat for accepting the painful results and thereby lining up while clapping hands to the players as they emerged from the dressing room to board the awaiting club bus, saying the gesture showed maturity among the supporters.
Earlier reports from the club's Communication Officer, Hassan Bumbuli, while announcing the names of players, who have been released by the club during the closed brief transfer window, the name of Molinga was among them.
Molinga’s last match for Yanga was against Biashara United at the National Stadium, where he was substituted at half time for Tariq Seif, who scored the winning goal of the match.
After being benched, it was reported that Molinga could not return with his teammates to watch the proceedings of the second half and instead, he left the venue using Bodaboda and not the club bus.