Defending champions Young Africans (Yanga) face Azam FC in an all-Tanzanian affair tough Kagame Cup final at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam this evening.
Fans are expected to see classy football showcased by both sides at the 60,000-seater stadium. Yanga fans as usual will come in large numbers carrying placards and flags to cheer their boys. Simba fans (Yanga’s archrivals) will have no option but to turn out in big numbers to cheer Azam FC who stunned them in the quarter final stage with a 3-1 win.
Although it is their first appearance in the tournament which is sponsored by Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Azam FC have proven to be a force to reckon with as they have eliminated top teams like Simba, Tusker of Kenya and AS Vita of the the Democratic Republic of Rwanda.
The team trained by coach Stewart Hall made a dream entry into the final in their debut after beating AS Vita Club 2-1 in the semi-final on Thursday at the same ground. The merely six-year-old local club confirmed their pedigree by outlasting AS Vita, a heralded old club from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo who won the African championship in 1973. Last season, Vita were good enough to win their domestic league, shutting off compatriots TP Mazembe, the back-to-back African champions in 2009 and 2010.
Yanga beat APR 1-0 in the second semi final match on Thursday. The defending champions have also improved massively since the regional club tournament kicked off on July 14. The Jangwani Street side lost 2-0 at the hands of Atletico of Burundi in the opening game before beating newcomers El Salaam Wau of South Sudan 7-1. They also beat APR of Rwanda 2-0 in their last group stage.
Azam FC have of late proved to be a hard nut to crack for Yanga whenever they met in either the Mainland Premier League or other Tanzania Football Federation (TFF)-sanctioned competitions.
It is going to be a final of its kind considering that Azam FC have defeated Yanga in four consecutive games. Last year the Chamazi-based side defeated Yanga 2-1 in a friendly before hitting them 2-0 in a Mapinduzi Cup match in Zanzibar.
Azam FC also won both legs of their encounter during last season’s Mainland Premier League. They snatched a 1-0 win over Yanga, the then defending champions in the league’s first round at the National Stadium.
They again hit them 3-1 in a tense return leg match played early this year and that, definitely, adds weight into today’s duel.
The so called big spenders’ side will field their usual goal getters such as John Bocco, Kipre Tchetche, Gaudence Mwaikimba, Jabir Aziz, Mrisho Ngassa and Ramadhan Chombo.
Newly recruited Yanga coach Tom Saintfiet likewise will rely on Hamisi Kiiza, Godfrey Taita, Said Bahanuzi, Stephano Mwasika, Haruna Niyonzima and Rashid Gumbo.
Yanga: Ali Mustafa, Nadir Haroub, Kevin Yondani, Haruna Niyonzima, Shamte Ali, Rashid Gumbo, Athumani Iddi, Oscar Joshua, Godfrey Taita, David Luhende, Saidi Bahanuzi.
Azam FC: Deogratius Munishi, Aggrey Morris, Erasto Nyoni, Said Mourad, Ibrahim Shikanda, Ibrahim Mwaipopo, Abubaker Salum, Kipre Tchetche, Jabir Aziz, Ramadhan Chombo, John Bocco.