Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why Yanga can still stand tall


By Gift Macha @TheCitizenTZ

Lusaka. Young Africans have failed to eliminate Zanaco FC from the African Champions League for the second time after playing out a goalless stalemate at the Sunset Stadium in Lusaka yesterday.

The Jangwani Street giants exit the continent’s premier club championship on an away goal rule having drawn 1-1 in the first leg in Dar es Salaam last week.

In 2006, Zanaco and Yanga met for the first time ever and the former advanced on a 3-2 goal aggregate.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Yanga. They drop to the Caf Confederation Cup where they will play the winners of the first round.

Last year, Yanga qualified for the group stage of the Champions League, but they had a run-of-the-mill performance and were demoted to the Confederation Cup where they also had an outing to forget.

The draw for the Confederation Cup playoffs will be held in Cairo next month where Yanga may be pitted against Azam FC should the latter overcome Mbabane Swallows today. Yanga, who were without prolific strikers Donald Ngoma and Ammisi Tambwe, were required to either win or draw 2-2 to book their place in the next stage.

The hosts, who escaped with a late lucky goal in Dar es Salaam, kicked off the match on a high note, but Yanga’s defence manned by Kelvin Yondani was watertight.

Zanaco had more chances in the first 30 minutes, but Yanga could also have scored had Obrey Chirwa and Simon Msuva been more precise in the area. Thabani Kamusoko had a chance in the 31st minute, but fluffed it due to his indecision.

Four minutes later, Haji Mwinyi could have sent Yanga supporters into wild celebrations, but his 30-metre volley flew over the crossbar by a few centimetres.

The second was equally contested despite Zanaco creating more goal scoring opportunities.

Should Yanga win their double-legged playoffs, they will qualify for the group stage of the Africa’s second tier club championship.

The group stage will comprise 16 teams divided into four groups.

However, it remains to be seen whether Tanzanian clubs will sail through to the group stage or not.