Yanga boosted by return of star players

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 11:28 AM Mar 28 2024
Ally Kamwe, the outfit’s Information, and Communication Manager
Photo; Yanga Sc
Ally Kamwe, the outfit’s Information, and Communication Manager

THIS season’s NBC Premier League defending champion, Young Africans SC, is gearing up to face Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League last-eight game set to take place at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

As the anticipation builds, the Tanzanian outfit eagerly awaits the return of six of their star players who have been representing their respective national teams.

Among key players are Malian goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, Burkinabe midfielder Stephan Aziz Ki, and his Ivorian counterpart Pacome Zouzoua, as well as Zambian forward Kennedy Musonda.

Their presence is crucial for Young Africans SC, popularly known as Yanga, as they aim to field a formidable lineup against their opponents.

Ally Kamwe, the outfit’s Information, and Communication Manager, emphasized the importance of having the full squad back in training ahead of the crucial fixture. 

“We have made arrangements to ensure that the players return promptly and have ample time to train with their colleagues,” Kamwe stated.

He expressed relief in receiving assurances from the federations that the players would be back in time for the match.

“We have contacted the leaders of the federations and they have assured us that by today, they will be back, and that is good news for us because we need to have a full squad for our match against Mamelodi,” Kamwe affirmed.

In addition to the six stars, two other players who were part of Tanzania's senior national soccer team, Taifa Stars, during the squad's recent friendly fixtures in Azerbaijan, will also rejoin their club.

Defender and captain Bakari Mwamnyeto, along with goalkeeper Aboutwalib Mshery, will bolster the team’s lineup with their experience and skill.

Commenting on the significance of the upcoming game, Kamwe highlighted the dual objectives Yanga is aiming to achieve.

“Apart from seeking a new chapter of glory for the club in the championship, we also stand to gain a substantial amount of prize money if we progress to the semi-final stage,” Kamwe explained.

The financial incentive adds another layer of motivation for the team as they prepare to take on their continental rivals.

With the return of their international stars and the added depth provided, Yanga is poised to put up a formidable challenge against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The stage is set for an exciting encounter as both teams vie for supremacy in the CAF Champions League.

Fans eagerly anticipate witnessing their beloved club’s quest for glory unfold at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Saturday.

In the 2023/24 CAF Champions League season, Yanga clinched second place in Group D, securing their spot in the quarterfinals with a total of eight points.

The Group D standings were led by Al Ahly, followed by Yanga, with CR Belouizdad placed third and Medeama SC sitting fourth.