- Yanga have not lost a single match in Dar in the CAF CC
- USM Alger are playing their second ever continent al final
- They have never won a Continental title
Algerian side USM Alger are looking to become the first team to beat Tanzania’s Yanga in Dar es Salaam at the CAF Confederation Cup whewn the two sides clash in the first leg of the semi-finals on Sunday evening.
Yanga have had a historic run in the tournament and the worst they have done this season is two draws, Against Rivers United and Tunisia’s Club Africain.
But, USM Alger head coach Abdelhak Benchikha has exuded confidence that his side is mentally and physically prepared for a tough duel that awaits them.
“What matters for us is how we have prepared for the match and we have to focus on the strengths and abilities of our team. We will also try to counter on the opponents’ strengths and capitalize on their weaknesses. We have not come here to defend. We came to play football and we will play same way we will play in Algeria,” the tactician said, speaking in Saturday’s pre-match press conference.
Benchikha adds; “We are a team that loves to play and we will try to be at that same level. This is a final match and we have prepared well for it psychologically.”
Fiston Mayele player to watch for Yanga
Among the players that Alger will need to be wary of is Yanga’s Congolese striker Fiston Mayele, who has scored six goals in 10 matches for his side.
Apart from him, Benchikha knows he is going to come up against an all-round good team.
“Fiston is a good player, but it is not only him who we should be wary of. Yanga has several good players; they play with speed. We cannot focus on one player because danger will come from anywhere,” the tactician offered.
Benchikha further said he has a lot of respect for Yanga and what they have achieved, but they will not approach the match in Dar with fear.
“The final is 50-50. We are Algerians and we never fear anyone. We also know that there is a second match to play and we should be on the pitch with that in mind,” the coach added.
He hopes that he can guide Alger into their first ever Continental title, but says there is no pressure on him or his players. The tactician added that the title will be of huge importance not only to the club’s supporters, but Algerian football as a whole.
Highest level of discipline
He has called on his players to be at the highest level of discipline and concentration to ensure their dream comes true.
Meanwhile, centreback Zineddine Belaid has urged on his teammates to step in with a good mentality and the readiness to play at the highest level.
He has stressed on his coach’s sentiments that they need to win a title for the Algerian people.
“It is an honour for us to play at this final and we want to strive and excel. We want to rejoice with the Algerian people, by winning this trophy,” he noted.