Four-Time Kagame Cup winners and title holders Young Africans will be tested to the limits in the second semifinal match against Rwanda champions APR at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.
Yanga, who posted a convincing 2-0 goal victory over the Rwanda side during the group stage match at the same venue last Saturday, need to outplay the visitors to realize their title retention dream in Saturday’s final.
The Tom Saintfiet-coached team will be under pressure to underline their supremacy over the Rwanda champions through posing another victory within a week.
Rarely have teams beaten twice in these regional championships as plotting revenge has always been the case for encounters of this nature.
While Yanga have most of their players fit for the clash, APR will have to labour to fill the gap left by their formidable defender Kabange Twite who conceded a red card during a quarterfinal clash against Uganda Revenue Authority on Monday.
However, the fitness condition of Yanga’s first choice goalkeeper Ghanaian Yaw Berko is not known for sure.
Berko sustained injury during Yanga’s tension-packed encounter against Zanzibar champs Mafunzo at the National Stadium on Monday.
In absence of Berko, Yanga would for sure field their new sign up Ali Mustafa between the posts hoping for no injury to prevail ahead of the Saturday final.
Both Yanga and APR have been beaten during their preliminary round matches to highlight their weaknesses when it comes to defence techniques.
Both Yanga and APR, who have seven Kagame Cup titles between them, stand favourites to lift the title on Saturday should one of them sail through.
Yanga winners in 1974, 1993, 1999 and 2011 will have to work above the call of duty to upset APR which won titles in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
Yanga have won their titles twice each against Simba and Sports Club Villa having lost the final three times in 1976, 1986 and 1992. APR have lost three finals in 1996, 2000 and 2005.
Yanga’s previous three titles have been scooped under dramatic circumstances after kicking off the preliminaries in low profile.
While APR have a lion’s share of national team players, Yanga have few of them in the Taifa Stars squad.