Tanzania’s Young Africans, affectionately referred to as Yanga by all and sundry, are basking in the light of glory, becoming the first Tanzanian team to play in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup.
They are only the second Tanzanian team, after their arch rivals Simba SC in 1993’s CAF Cup, to play a continental final, and now, they are seeking to go all the way and reach the stars, to clinch their first ever continental title.
Wanajangwani dropped to the Confederation Cup after elimination in the
CAF Champions League. They were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Sudan’s Al Hilal in the second round, and they have used that exit pain as fuel to charge their run in the Confederation Cup.
They played in the additional preliminary round, beating Tunisia’s Club African 1-0 in aggregate. They played to a barren draw at home, before winning the return fixture to earn their place in the group stages.
They were drawn in Group D where they finished top with 13 points, edging out Tunisia’s US Monastir on goal difference.
They had four wins from six matches, a draw and a loss. Their only defeat was a 2-0 result away to Monastir while their draw was a 1-1 result away to Real de Bamako.
They beat giants and two-time champions TP Mazembe home and away, Monastir and Bamako both in Dar es Salaam.
In the quarters, they beat Nigeria’s Rivers United 2-0 on aggregate, the victory away from home in the first leg sufficing after a 0-0 draw in the return fixture in Dar.
In the semi-finals, they faced South Africa’s Marumo Gallants, winning 4-1 on aggregate with a 2-0 victory at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam and a 2-1 win in South Africa.
They have had a solid record at home in the competition, only dropping victory in their play-off match against Club Africain and the return quarter final fixture against Rivers United.
Players to watch:
Congolese forward Fiston Kalala Mayele has been Yanga’s go to man for goals, the lanky striker playing a crucial role in their run up to the finals with nine goal involvements in 10 matches. He has scored six and assisted three.
Goalkeeper Djigui Diarra has also been a wall for Yanga at the back, keeping five clean sheets in nine matches, stats that have proved vital for Yanga to make a run till the final.
In midfield, Ugandan Khalid Aucho has been an unsung hero, and his calmness on and off the ball have been vital for Yanga especially providing the screen to the back four.
Yanga’s road to the final
1st Leg Young Africans 0 Club Africain 0
2nd Leg Club Africain 0 Young Africans 1
Young Africans won 1-0 on aggregate
Union Monastirienne 2 Young African 0
Young Africans 3 TP Mazembe 1
Real Bamako 1 Young Africans 1
Young Africans 2 Real Bamako 0
Young Africans 2 Union Monastirienne 0
TP Mazembe 0 Young Africans 1
First Leg, Rivers United 0 Young Africans 2
Second Leg, Young Africans 0 Rivers United 0
Young Africans progress 2-0 on aggregate
First Leg, Young Africans 2 Marumo Gallants 0
Second Leg, Marumo Gallants 1 Young Africans 2
Young Africans progress 4-1 on aggregate