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CAFCC Semifinal First Leg Preview: Young Africans (TZA) vs. Marumo Gallants (RSA)

South Africa’s Marumo Gallants face the toughest of challenges on Wednesday when the club from Limpopo province face Tanzanian champions Young Africans in Dar es Salaam for the first leg of their CAF Confederation semifinal clash. Gallants are engaged in an unlikely charge for continental glory but after taking down one big spending African club with a victory over Pyramids FC of Egypt, Yanga will be an even stiffer challenge. Yanga moved a step closer to repeating as champions of Tanzania’s NBC Premier League last week and now are the heavy favorites to advance to their first ever final in CAF club competition.

With another league title all but clinched, Yanga can now focus their attention on the Confederation Cup but must stay focused on the challenge that Gallants pose. Head coach Nasreddine Nabi took a close look at Gallants’ DStv Premiership defeat to South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns over the weekend but was quick to observe that several important players were rested by coach Raymond Mdaka to remain fresh for Wednesday’s first leg. Nabi concluded that Gallants are an unpredictable team when playing away from home and the coach’s priority is on winning the first leg at home while avoiding the concession of an away goal that could coast Yanga in the second leg.

For Yanga the main threat is striker Fiston Mayele. The Congolese marksman has over twenty goals in all competitions this season including both goals in Yanga’s 2-0 quarterfinal aggregate victory over Nigeria’s Rivers United. Mayele is joined by Burkina Faso national team member Stephane Aziz Ki who excelled for Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas last season in this competition and has ten goals in all competitions this season. Captain and Tanzania national team regular Bakari Mwamnyeto will lead the Yanga defense along with Dickson Job while Mayele is joined by compatriots Djuma Djabani and Lomalisa Mutambala the full back positions and Yannick Bangala in the heart of the midfield.

The defeat over the weekend to Mamelodi Sundowns dealt a blow to Gallants’ relegation fight in South Africa’s top tier and it is looking more and more like the club may have to take part in a relegation playoff to retain their top division status next season. However the club is well rested for Wednesday’s first leg against Yanga and have somebody who is knowledgeable about Tanzanian football with former Simba SC coach Dylan Kerr in the technical team. Kerr stated that Yanga have a well balanced team with multiple players who can hurt Gallants beyond star striker Mayele. Head coach Mdaka said that his team are just taking it one match at a time and are trying not to let their relegation battle impact the team’s Confederation Cup campaign.

Attackers Nku Lesiba and Letsile Koapeng, midfielder Celimpilo Ngema as well as starting fullbacks Mpho Mvelase and Lebohang Mabotja were all rested for the Sundowns match on Saturday by Mdaka. Ngema should return to the eleven to form a strong heart of the Gallants midfield with Lucky Mohomi while Koapeng and Lesiba add more danger to an attack where striker Ranga Chivaviro has emerged as the star player. 30-year-old Chivaviro has sixteen goals in all competitions this season and is playing with a high level of confidence, combining physicality and a sharp first touch when receiving the ball in the penalty area. Goalkeeper Washington Arubi from the Zimbabwe national team may just be the most important player for Gallants with the veteran bringing leadership and composure on the big stage.

More on both teams are in the links below.

Nabi aishtukia Marumo, asema wameficha mastaa wanne (Mwanaspoti)
Shoo ya Marumo inafia hapa… (Mwanaspoti)
CAF yailima Yanga faini Sh82 milioni (Mwanaspoti)

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