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Yanga, Simba eye CAF Champions League group stage slots

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Simba players during a training session. PHOTO/Simba
Simba players during a training session. PHOTO/Simba
  • Yanga have a 2-0 lead against AL Merrikh from the first leg
  • Simba drew 2-2 with Power Dynamos in the first leg
  • They both play at home this weekend

Tanzanian giants Yanga and Simba SC will look to book slots in the group stages of the CAF Champions League when they play the return leg of their respective first round duels in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania Premier League champions Young Africans take on Sudan’s Al Merrikh at the Azam Complex in Chamazi on Saturday. Yanga, as they are popularly known as, are looking to make the group stages of the Champions League, and a favourable result at home will sail them in.

Yanga lead 2-0 from the first leg, and they just need a draw to make it through. If worse comes to worse, a 1-0 defeat will still be enough to get them in, but Wanajangwani are not keen to take any chances.

“We are taking the match like one we are playing from scratch and not regarding the first leg result. It will not be easy because Merreikh is also a very good team, they are strong and will come to challenge,” said head coach Miguel Gamondi.

Want to be at our best 

He added; “We want to be at our best because it is our ambition to do well in the Champions League. Getting into the group stage is the first target.”

Last season, Yanga went all the way to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup and they want to replicate the same performance in the Champions League.

“We know there is pressure but we are not letting it get to us. We just want to go into the pitch and perform in the best way possible to get a good result. I am confident in the boys,” Gamondi added.

Yanga players during a training session. PHOTO/Yanga

Yanga players during a training session. PHOTO/Yanga

Meanwhile, Simba SC hosts Power Dynamos of Zambia in a crucial tie at the same venue, with a place in the group phases at stake. Simba picked up a 2-2 draw away from home in the first leg, twice coming from behind with a pair of goals from Clatous Chota Chama.

Chama salvages draw for Simba 

Wekundu wa Msimbazi were pushed to the edge, with Zambian Chama scoring a 93rd minute equalizer to keep the side finely poised in the tie. At home on Sunday, they just need a 1-1 draw or an outright win to make it to the group phase for a second consecutive season.

Head coach Robert Oliveira says the team is well psyched and prepared to ensure they make the group stages.

“We have worked hard in training knowing that we will face a very tough team. We are at home and we want to win at home. We have our fans behind us and I am confident they will rally to push us through,” said the coach.

He added that they have worked to improve on their backline, as they look to keep a clean sheet at home, something crucial in their qualification.

Simba reached the quarter finals of the Champions League last season, only losing out to eventual finalists Wydad Athletic Club on penalties.

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