Zahera, Cheche defend Yanga, Azam FC team selection       

01Oct 2019
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Zahera, Cheche defend Yanga, Azam FC team selection       

YOUNG Africans (Yanga) and Azam FC coaches have defended their team selection following CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup exit last weekend.

Azam FC assistant coach, Iddi Cheche.

Yanga failed to progress to the lucrative CAF Champions League ‘s groups’ stage, after suffering a 2-1 away loss to Zambian side, Zesco United, in the first round in Ndola on Saturday.

Yanga have, as a result, dropped to the CAF Confederation Cup where they need to win a two-legged playoff to qualify for the groups’ stages of the second tier of continental club football competitions.

The stages’ draws will be conducted in Cairo on Wednesday.

Yanga head coach, Mwinyi Zahera, has defended his decision not to make substitutions earlier against Zesco United.

There were calls from fans for defenders, Ally Ahmed Ally and Ally Sonso, as well as Patrick Sibomana, to be substituted but Zahera only made his first change on the 82nd minute when Yanga were chasing the game.

Forwards Juma Balinya, Mrisho Ngassa and Maybin Kalengo were brought in the last 10 minutes but could not get the elusive equalizer.

Zahera explained that he could not take out some of his best penalty takers when the game was in the balance.

“I was holding out on a penalty shootout, I could not gamble with taking out our best spot kick takers when the game was in balance. Patrick Sibomana was obviously tired but he is one of best penalty takers,” Zahera noted.

“I could not substitute Abdulaziz Makame as he was helping out Ally Sonso who was being overrun by Zesco United strikers. Some players are nervous penalty takers, I was trying to see the game out,’’ he said.

On the other side, Azam FC assistant coach, Idd Cheche, said the outfit’s loss in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with inclusion of youngsters, Abdul Omary and Masoud Abdallah, ahead of experienced players.

The Ice Cream maker’s technical bench threw a few curveballs, with Omary and Abdallah, alias Cabaye, in the starting side.

Midfielders, Frank Domayo and Abubakar Salum ‘Sure Boy’ were left on the bench and Donald Ngoma was completely absent from the squad.

But for all their youthful energy, their soft underbelly was exposed, though Cheche disclosed the two are not related.

“I don't think it relates at all. It is not the first time they are playing. We have good integration of youth players in the senior team, they played in the Kagame Cup tournament and have enough game time in local top flight,’’ he explained.

Azam FC exit means Yanga are the only Tanzania team remaining in the 2019-20 CAF club competitions, despite an unprecedented six representatives at the start of the campaign, including two from Zanzibar.

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