Yanga to hold training camp in South Africa, face Kaizer Chiefs in friendly

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 04:59 AM Jun 20 2024
Young Africans head coach Miguel Gamondi with the Premier League and Federation Cup trophies won by the Jangwani Street-based side in the just-ended 2023/24 season.
Photo: Courtesy of YASC
Young Africans head coach Miguel Gamondi with the Premier League and Federation Cup trophies won by the Jangwani Street-based side in the just-ended 2023/24 season.

YOUNG Africans are set to embark on a pre-season camp in South Africa as they prepare for the upcoming 2024/2025 season. This marks a significant shift from their usual preparations in Kigamboni, highlighting their ambition and readiness for the challenges ahead.

Young Africans concluded last season with remarkable success, clinching the Premier League title for the third consecutive time and the 30th in the club’s storied history. 

They also triumphed in the Federation Cup, securing victory in a nail-biting penalty shootout against Azam FC, which ended 6-5 after a goalless draw in regulation time.

The Jangwani Street-based side also showcased their prowess on the continental stage, reaching the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League. Despite a valiant effort, they were edged out by South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, falling 3-2 in a penalty shootout after two goalless legs.

This season, Young Africans’ pre-season will be distinct, largely due to an invitation from South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs to play a friendly match in July. The match is a key component of their preparation, set to take place during the off-season period. 

The decision to move the pre-season camp to South Africa stems from this invitation, alongside offers from various clubs in the region.

July last year, Chiefs participated in Young Africans’ Wananchi Day celebrations, followed by a pre-season match at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, where the hosts secured a 1-0 victory.

Ally Kamwe, Young Africans’ information officer, expressed optimism about the upcoming preparations.

“This time we are coming differently from previous seasons. We expect to camp in South Africa, at the invitation of various clubs, and we have to go to Kenya for the opening of a stadium in Kisumu,” Kamwe said. 

He emphasized the importance of the South African camp in providing a serene environment conducive to thorough preparation.

Young Africans’ decision to change their usual pre-season venue underscores their strategic approach to the forthcoming season. The team will also travel to Kenya to participate in the inauguration of a new stadium in Kisumu, highlighting their commitment to engaging with regional football communities.

Kamwe further noted the advantages of the South African camp, particularly the opportunity to play friendly matches against highly competitive teams. 

“We believe it will be a good pre-season because we will have friendly matches with great competition to prepare for the 2024/25 season,” he said. 

This approach is expected to provide Young Africans with rigorous tests and fine-tuning opportunities before the official competitions begin.

In recent years, Young Africans have preferred the Avic Town camp for their pre-season preparations. However, the shift to South Africa signals a broader strategy aimed at enhancing the team’s readiness and exposure to different playing styles and conditions.

In preparation for the next season, Young Africans have decided to retain their head coach, Miguel Gamondi, who has extended his contract for another year. This move comes amidst speculation about his potential departure following the club’s successful season. 

Gamondi’s continued leadership is seen as a stabilizing factor, ensuring continuity and sustained performance.

The club is also actively involved in strengthening its squad. Several players are expected to depart, making way for new signings during the transfer window. 

Among those likely to leave are Lomalisa Mutambala, Mahlatse Makudubela, Augustine Okrah, Abutwalib Mshery, and Kennedy Musonda. 

These changes reflect Young Africans’ ongoing efforts to build a competitive team capable of maintaining their dominance domestically and achieving greater success in continental competitions.

As Young Africans gear up for the new season, the pre-season camp in South Africa represents a critical phase in their preparation. The combination of high-level friendly matches and intensive training is anticipated to bolster the team’s readiness, setting the stage for another successful campaign.

The club’s forward-thinking approach, involving strategic pre-season planning and targeted player acquisitions, demonstrates their commitment to sustained excellence. Young Africans supporters and stakeholders will be eagerly watching as the team prepares to take on new challenges and uphold their legacy in Tanzanian and African football.