Though they stand a good chance, the task will be hard to accomplish for the visiting Tanzania teams. While Azam play their return leg against Tunisia’s Esperance in Tunis tomorrow, Yanga meet Egyptian champions National Al Ahly in Cairo on the following day.
Yanga started their campaign with a slightly inferior 1-1 draw at home while Azam impressed with a convincing 2-1 victory at their Chamazi base.
Coincidentally, both Azam and Yanga are paired against highly notorious and formidable teams that offer ‘delicate hospitality’ whenever they host teams out of their geographical zones.Unless they have made significant changes to their soccer hospitality, it is widely anticipated that intimidation will prevail before and during the matches.
No team fields players to fail in a football match as victory is of paramount importance for either side and given this quest to advance into the next stage of CAF leagues, every team will attempt to post victory at all costs.
Historically, the Northern Africa teams are known to push for victory in ‘whatsoever way’ they can as long as their teams advance to the next stage of the competition.
So Azam and Yanga have their work cut out in their bid to prove these teams wrong and the only way to that is through intricate offence and scoring undisputable goals.
Since both teams did not concede defeat in their first leg matches barely a week ago, they have the opportunity to prove their supremacy over the same opponents on foreign soils.
Despite all the expected hurdles in their mission to gain ground and overhaul their football opponents, it’s the difference in number of goals that will determine which of the teams progress to the next stage.
Here at home, we habour a unique obsession for the game, football remains the most loved sport in almost every household across Tanzania and so whichever team advances, it will certainly be received with appreciation by the diehard fans who have for decades been deprived of a reason to celebrate when it comes to club performance at continental level.
Both Yanga and Azam have at their disposal strong financial supporters who have always been behind their mission to attain success. Both teams have secured lucrative deals good enough to ease a host of financial hurdles and boost their preparations and also allowing them to hire competent players and coaches.
At the continental CAF league, Yanga’s record best was attained in 1998 when they reached the last eight of this Champions League franchise. Now this year, the Mainland Tanzania champions are but a step away to repeat their 1998 feat should they knock off the formidable Egyptian side, a dominant continental soccer club.
We wish all the best to our envoys in their quest to attain what we have been missing for a long time now.