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Tanzania’s Simba, Yanga eye history in CAF Champions League

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Yanga SC players training in South Africa. PHOTO/Yanga
  • Yanga and Sundowns drew 0-0 in the first leg
  • Simba lost the first leg 1-0 at home against Ahly
  • Both sides have never progressed to the semi-final of the Champions League

 Tanzanian giants Simba SC and Young Africans (Yanga) will be eying historic qualifications to the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League when they play the return legs of their quarter final duels.

Both teams are away, with Simba facing record winners and defending champions Al Ahly in Cairo, with a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, while Yanga are away in Pretoria, taking on 2016 winners Mamelodi Sundowns with the duel evenly poised following a 0-0 draw in Dar es Salaam in the first leg.

Yanga’s Head coach Miguel Gamondi says his charges have prepared well and with history in front of them, they will give their absolute best.

“We anticipate a really difficult match because Sundowns is a good side. We have trust and faith in the work that we have put in from the training ground and we have confidence in our players that they will execute on the pitch,” the tactician said ahead of the game.

Yanga have never made it into the semi-finals of the Champions League and are seeking to do so for the first time ever. They are further boosted in confidence with their continental performance from last year where they went all the way till the final of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Gamondi says they will look to make another piece of history in South Africa.

Yanga have experienced players says Gamondi 


Yanga SC coach Miguel Gamondi. PHOTO/Yanga

“We have experienced players who know how to play such difficult matches. Last season, we lost the first leg of the Confederation Cup at home but we all saw how we played away from home. It will be a different match this time but we hope we can fight like that,” added the tactician.

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena on the other hand has urged his players to fight for 90 minutes to get a favourable result. A scoring draw will see Yanga progress, and thus, Sundowns need an outright win of whatever margin.

“We are in a space where we have to think positive about the game. nothing else matters for us right now except for the 90 minutes. The focus is being at our best, understanding that Yanga are actually coming here to play the best team on the continent and we’ve got to be ready for that,” the coach said, speaking ahead of the game.

He says they expect a tough duel against Yanga, as seen from the first leg.

“We are looking forward to what will be a very interesting game. I did say that Yanga are a very good side and you can see with their results and performances in their domestic league. They have a good and some good players in the team that have experience from some reputable countries. We expect a very difficult game, of course one that we are ready for,” he said.

Simba SC meanwhile have all the work to do in Cairo. A 1-0 victory will send the game to penalties, and thus Simba need to win by a margin of more than two goals, not a mean task especially in North Africa.

Benchikha confident with Simba 


Simba SC players. PHOTO/Simba

Head coach Abdelhak Benchikha says he believes his players have the ability to overturn the 1-0 deficit and will do their absolute best to get a result away from home.

“We did not come here to lose and if we did, then we wouldn’t have come at all. We have come here to compete and we will do that to our best ability. We have trained well, prepared well and we are ready,” the Algerian coach said.

He added; “We analyzed the game from the first leg and we saw what we had done wrong and where we need to improve. I am sure we will give a good account when we play in Cairo.”

Ahly themselves know it will not be an easy duel against Wekundu wa Msimbazi. Head coach Marcel Koller believes that even with a 1-0 lead, Simba still are very potent and can cause a shock in the Egyptian capital.

Ahly expect difficult outing 


Al Ahly SC players in training. PHOTO/Al Ahly

“I expect the second leg against Simba to be very tough, just like the first leg was. We witnessed a closely contested match in the first encounter. Simba will do everything to win and overturn the result of the first leg, so we need to be focused and determined,” said the Swiss coach, speaking ahead of the game.

He adds; “We achieved a positive result in the first leg, which gives us confidence, but there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. I have told the players that.”

Ahly will need to avoid defeat at home to make the semi-finals and keep their title defense ambitions alive.

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