Gamondi tips this week as the biggest for Tanzanian football

By Guardian Correspondent , The Guardian
Published at 10:59 AM Mar 29 2024
Yanga's head coach, Miguel Ángel Gamondi
Yanga's head coach, Miguel Ángel Gamondi

TANZANIA is set to experience the biggest football week in history when two African football giants and TotalEnergies CAF Champions League gold medalists, Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns, descend to the nation for their respective quarterfinal fixtures against Simba SC and Young Africans SC, also known as Yanga.

Simba SC takes on reigning champions Ahly today in the evening while Tanzanian champions, Yanga, welcome the high-flying Mamelodi Sundowns tomorrow.

Yanga's head coach Miguel Gamondi, who was an assistant coach at Mamelodi Sundowns when they won their seventh league title in the 2005/06 season, spoke to CAFOnline ahead of the blockbuster fixture.

The Argentine shared his thoughts ahead of the match and why it was important for Tanzania to have two of its best clubs competing in the biggest club competition in Africa.

CAFOnline: How has the domestic season been for you so far?           

Miguel Gamondi: So far so good. We are on top of the log. What is important is to keep playing out style and identity. We must keep fans happy because fans in this country are passionate and love this game.

We try to do our best and always get results which is important. Hopefully, we can continue with this consistency and win the league again.

CAFOnline: Facing Mamelodi Sundowns for the first time, your thoughts on the South Africans?

Sundowns is one of the biggest teams performing in the continent along with Al Ahly, no doubt they are the best on the continent.

They are where they are today because of the consistency they have shown over the years. I like the style of play of Sundowns. They play the type of football that I like.

I was a coach at Sundowns, and I know what they like to do and what they are building now is not only important for South Africa but for the African continent because it’s an advert for Africa.

For us, it is probably going to be the toughest opponent we will get but at the same time, it will be a great learning experience for Young Africans to play with a quality side and technical staff. I think this will be a great advert for African football.

CAFOnline: ⁠It is a big week for Tanzanian football with your club and Simba SC playing in the CAF Champions League, what does this say about football in the country?

It is historical. It is the first time both make it to the quarterfinals as a pair. This shows great improvement in the management of both clubs and federations. You can see that they are committed to improving and bringing quality.

Hopefully, the result can give more motivation for our management and federation to build more infrastructure and create more possibilities for youth development.

This country has good potential, and this is important for Tanzanian football. I believe this week will put the name of Tanzanian football out into the continent through the biggest club competition.

I am very happy with what has happened in this country over the last two years.

CAFOnline: What would be a good finish for you in this competition?

The goal of the club was to reach the group stage and after reaching that, we said we wanted to compete and competed against big clubs like Ahly and came second.

Now we want to do well in the knockout because it will be a good evaluation of where we are. It is a learning experience and for sure, we will play our best.

We may not be in the best condition for this game as some players came back with injuries from the FIFA break but we will try our best and show that we deserve to be at this stage of the competition.

In football, you never know. Logic says Sundowns is the bigger team and they have played longer together and invested a lot of money, but football is 11v11 and we hope that we will get a result. We are a competitive team, and we will do our best.