Nabi’s first six months in charge of Yanga    

21Oct 2021
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Nabi’s first six months in charge of Yanga    

YANGA's recent 2-0 victory over Kinondoni Municipal Council FC told us many things, notably the fact coach Nasredinne Nabi’s side is a serious contender for the 2021/22 NBC Premier League title.

The obvious caveat here is that it is still monumentally early days in the campaign.

The Green and Yellow haven't been bulldozing their way through the opposition and in fact, they haven't exactly been at their best at all.

Yet they have won all their three opening games of the season, scoring four without conceding a goal to go top of the table. This is their best start to a league campaign in three years.

On Wednesday, coach Nabi celebrated six months in charge of Yanga and they are looking stronger with each week that passes after a chaotic pre-season threatened to create a storm in the club.

In April, Nabi replaced Cedric Kaze as Yanga head coach after the club made the difficult decision to sack the Burundian following a disappointing run of form.

The 56-year-old Tunisian has not disappointed, winning 12 of his 18 competitive games including masterminding two derby victories against Simba.

The Federation Cup final loss and the CAF Champions League premature exit are the only real blemish on an otherwise fabulous first six months for Nabi.

A little over three months after taking charge of the team, Nabi was leading Yanga out for the Federation Cup final against Simba at Lake Tanganyika Stadium in Kigoma- a match the Green and Yellow went on to lose 1-0.

Less than two months after that, there was more heartbreak when Yanga lost to Rivers United of Nigeria in both legs of the CAF Champions League first preliminary round matches to bow out of continental football at the first hurdle.

After the disappointment of the Federation Cup final defeat to Simba and CAF Champions League early exit, their progress was rewarded with a Community Shield triumph over age-old rivals Simba. 

Of all the different players that have scored a competitive goal under nabi, there are no prizes for guessing who has the most.

Midfielder Feisal Salum has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Nabi’s arrival.

Nabi's first big tactical change was to push Feisal Salum to a more advanced role.

As a result, the footballer, 'Fei Toto' as he is proudly known, has emerged as the Yanga player with the most goal contributions under Nabi.

Salum has scored six goals in that period and is favoured above Said Ntibazonkiza whose future is now in question.

The Burundi international has undoubtedly been the biggest loser from Nabi's appointment, having been the club’s key player when he arrived late last year and seemed to have an instant impact upfront but has only played eight games since the Tunisian touched down in Dar es Salaam.

Of course, merely reaching a final and winning the Community Shield does suggest a certain degree of success, but that will not be enough for Yanga fans who are used to more tangible rewards.

Nabi will ultimately be judged on the league title which has eluded the club for the past four years.