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CAF Confederation Cup Semifinal Second Leg Preview: Marumo Gallants (RSA) vs. Young Africans (TZA)

South African club Marumo Gallants will have to overturn a two-goal deficit on Wednesday in Rustenberg when they host newly crowned Ligi Kuu Tanzania Bara champions Young Africans in the second leg of their CAF Confederation Cup semifinal duel. Confidence is as high as it could possibly be for Yanga after a 4-2 victory over Dodoma Jiji completed their successful defense of the Tanzanian top division but now all focus is on winning a first ever trophy in CAF club competition. Gallants have numerous distractions to deal with but have nothing to lose on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s second leg hosts defied the odds to reach the knockout stages of the Confederation Cup but focusing on their continental exploits is putting a strain on the club in other areas. Gallants have their final fixture in South Africa’s DStv Premiership this weekend and the club could be relegated to the second division if they fail to get a result against Swallows FC. The club also felt compelled to respond to rumors that the players refused to train over owed bonuses for reaching the late stages of the Confederation Cup, something Gallants management labeled as untrue in a statement on Twitter.

Despite the circumstances off the pitch, Gallants performed well in the first leg but failure to capitalize on their opportunities set the stage for Yanga to score twice in the final thirty minutes for a 2-0 victory. Head coach Raymond Mdaka lamented the missed chances but expressed optimism that his team can pull off another shock by advancing to the final. Mdaka expressed hope that Celimpilo Ngema will return after missing the first leg to form a strong central midfield partnership with Lucky Mohomi. Mohomi did well to set up opportunities in the first leg but Gallants need in form striker Ranga Chivaviro to finish along with fellow forwards Katlego Otladisa and Letsie Koapeng. Zimbabwean goalkeeper Washington Arubi leads the defense which generally performed well in the first leg played in Dar es Salaam.

Yanga supporters are still celebrating the club’s latest domestic championship, won in dramatic fashion over the weekend. Even with the 2-0 shutout in the first leg there is a feeling that the margin of victory could have been greater as expressed by head coach Nasreddine Nabi, who criticized his team’s finishing. Nabi stated he will have a different approach away from home in the second leg and pointed out that Gallants are strong in the midfield. If Yanga can find a goal in Rustenberg then Gallants will have to win by a four-goal margin on Wednesday to advance.

Ghanaian playmaker Bernard Morrison came off the bench to score Yanga’s second goal but will be unavailable for the second leg because legal issues in addition to overstaying his visa while a member of South African club Orlando Pirates has him banned from entering the country. There are plenty of talented attackers to help Nabi forget about Morrison’s unavailability, however, with Congolese striker Fiston Mayele and Burkinabé forward Stephane Aziz Ki both important sources of goals. The focus on Wednesday will be the defense which is composed of an entirely Tanzanian back line in front of Mali national team goalkeeper Djigui Diarra. Captain Bakari Mwamnyeto will have to be at his best in the heart of the defense along with Ibrahim Hamad who impressed in the first leg.

More on both teams are in the links below.

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