Passion, confusion stalk Yanga as city rivals meet in Federation Cup

10Jul 2020
Michael Eneza
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Passion, confusion stalk Yanga as city rivals meet in Federation Cup

CITY giants, Young Africans SC (Yanga) and Simba SC, are expected to find their way back to the pitch – as they only meet in fairly necessary encounters – in a Federation Cup semi-final tie at the usual spot, the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Yanga players participate in training in Kagera early this week to prepare for a Vodacom Premier League encounter with Kagera Sugar, which took place in the region on Wednesday and ended with Yanga winning 1-0. PHOTO; COURTESY OF YANGA

As matters stand, it is Yanga who have a massive psychological burden of proving that there is something they can still do to make them a match with their rivals, apart from having won a previous encounter between the two sides not so long ago. Predicting the outcome of this match would require a situation where logical expectation of team strength eventually differs with actual psychological preparedness as it happened in their last match. The question is whether Yanga can repeat that experience, which would mean twice lucky on their rivals’ evaluation, or this time around technical inputs would simply prevail.

When it comes to technique, in the sense of team strength, player duration and building of the formation or pattern of play, Msimbazi Street has an unquestionable edge over Jangwani Street for most of the past two years, in the least, if not starting much earlier. The reason is that Yanga have been going through a period of sponsorship confusion, reorganization, experimental recruitment of players whose more solid achievement was winning the past encounter with Simba. The display in the league has been stable by overall premier league standards but arguably a shambles in relation to their rivals, so not a proud record.

There are two situations that face underdogs when they meet a technically better team, one situation that is favorable and another that has greater danger to it and risks reducing the psychological advantage it would otherwise have. The better situation is where the team is weaker than the rivals’ side but it has a cohesive determination, while the premier league champion side has nothing to lose, and unavoidably find themselves to be somewhat relaxed. It is not something that the coach would have told the players at that time (previous encounter) or this one but rather the cause factors remain the same, that they are on top.

In that regard Yanga would have the same psychological advantage as they arguably had in the previous match even if Simba may playfully have out on a better performance, but lacked a certain element of thrust, personal drive that quite often makes a difference in a match. It can’t be taught by the coach but depends on player reflexes at a particular moment, and that is where the issue of determination comes up,  who has a greater reason to push himself to the limit, and by contrast, who is already basking in premier league success so to speak. Were things to remain at that level, Yanga would have half a chance of a win.

The trouble is the second aspect of this underdog situation, that Yanga at present may not be able to feature a sense of purpose, where the players and the technical bench as a whole have the same drive for utmost performance. While this aspect can’t be cultivated in this space for lack of extensive reporting (save in some relevant dailies or thereof) on sentiments swirling in the dressing room at present, some indicators starting a fortnight earlier or thereabouts weren’t encouraging. There was an instance where the club had to make apologies either on behalf of a player or even to the player by some reports, a misnomer.

Similarly it was apparent that the player at issue may have a foot in Yanga for the interest of soccer fireworks as a youth but scarcely the drive to help it attain anything this season. There was an upcountry encounter in which a player ruled himself out of travel and it was unclear if any clear reasons were given, leaving club officials and the technical bench perplexed. Similarly, while a player has serious conduct or disciplinary proceedings against him, the same is seen in the company of top club official of the rivals.

In all these instances there are just two players sharing all the accolades between them, Bernard Morrison and David Molinga who have a reason to feel a shoulder above not just the other players but the club as whole. This isn’t just for the VIP treatment they have received on the basis of their abilities and scoring most all-important goals shoring up club pride in a season that Yanga fans will love to leave behind. As things are, the rival side is up to either using them to undermine their rivals or recruit them next season.