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CAF Confederation Cup Final Second Leg Preview: USM Alger (ALG) vs. Young Africans (TZA)

The 2022-23 CAF Confederation Cup final contested by Algeria’s USM Alger and Tanzanian champions Young Africans SC will conclude on Saturday when the teams meet for the second leg at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. USMA hold the advantage following a 2-1 first leg victory in Dar es Salaam and are eager to finish the job at home but face a Yanga team who are more than capable of overturning the deficit. Whatever happens on Saturday, the winner will emerge with a first-ever continental title whether it is USMA or Yanga who come out on top.

The coaching staff and players of USM Alger are ready to complete a historical achievement for the club but the difficulty is keeping the players focused on doing their part in the second leg. Extended preparations for the match are ongoing behind closed doors at the Algerian Football Federation’s National Technical Center in Sidi Moussa. Head coach Abdelhak Benchikha emphasized the need for focus and to avoid celebrating before the mission is accomplished, stating “I don’t want to experience the joy of the title, when it is still far from certain.” USMA will have a massive backing at the

Benchikha will be without the services of one important player, Ibrahim Benzaza, after he picked up his third yellow card of the knockout stages in the first leg. Messala Merbah, Akram Djahnit and Abdelkrim Zouari are all candidates to replace Benzaza and join Islam Merili and Oussama Chita in the center of the midfield. The forward line of Aymen Mahious, Tumisang Orebonye and Khaled Bousseliou should remain with Abderrahmane Meziane a valuable presence off the bench after returning from a recent injury.

Central defender Zineddine Belaid and goalkeeper Oussama Benbout joined Mahious and left back Haithem Loucif in receiving calls to the Algeria senior national team, showing the strength of the USMA defense. Set pieces will be important because this USMA team continues to display a high level at defending and attacking corner kicks as well as free kicks.

Young Africans have their backs against the wall following a disappointing first leg but head coach Nasreddine Nabi knows his players are capable of finding the two goals they need in Algeria. Nabi referenced the fact that Yanga scored twice in the matches played away from home in the quarterfinals against Nigeria’s Rivers United as well as at Marumo Gallants of South Africa in the semifinals. Yanga star striker Fiston Mayele remarked that he and his teammates are accustomed to playing in front of large crowds and that the pressure will in fact be on USMA to perform well in front of their vocal supporters.

Mayele, the leading scorer in the competition, gave the USMA defense plenty to worry about with his pace and is the reason Yanga are more than capable of finding at least two goals on Saturday. Mayele’s Congolese compatriot Tuisila Kisinda as well as Zambian winger Kennedy Musonda and Burkinabé national team member Stephane Aziz Ki are the preferred supporting attackers under Nabi but the Tunisian coach has numerous options who can provide a punch off the bench that include Ghanaian playmaker Bernard Morrison and Clement Mzize.

There should not be any changes in how Nabi organizes his defense with a back line that is composed of Tanzanian players. Captain Bakari Mwamnyeto rallied his teammates by declaring that if USMA can get a result in Dar es Salaam then Yanga can achieve a victory in Algiers. Central midfielder Yahya Mudathir expressed similar sentiments and will be the key player at the base of the Yanga midfield along with Congolese player Yannick Bangala.

More on the match from African, Algerian and Tanzanian media is in the links below.

Mayele: Our goal is silverware (Daily News Tanzania)
Mwamnyeto: Tunarudi na kombe (Tanzania Web)
Nabi ataja sababu ya Morrison kuanzia benchi (Mwanaspoti)

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