Gamond guides Yanga to NBC PL victory, sets sights on continental dominance

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 10:54 AM May 15 2024
Young Africans SC players celebrate after their NBC Premier Leaguea match against Mtibwa Sugar at Manungu Stadium on Monday. Yanga won 3-1.
Photo: Courtesy of Yanga.
Young Africans SC players celebrate after their NBC Premier Leaguea match against Mtibwa Sugar at Manungu Stadium on Monday. Yanga won 3-1.

YOUNG Africans Sports Club (Yanga) secured a significant victory with a 3-1 win against Mtibwa Sugar FC at Manungu Stadium last Monday.

This win not only sealed their triumph in the match but also solidified their status as the 2023/2024 NBC Premier League champions, marking their third consecutive title and their 30th league championship overall.

Reflecting on the victory, Yanga’s head coach, Miguel Gamond, expressed his joy, stating: “As a coach leading this team to be champions, I am very happy. My players, technical bench, leaders, and fans for Young Africans made it look this way today, but it was not easy. The league is very tough, each team is fighting.”

Gamond further praised his team’s performance throughout the season, adding: “I am very happy with the kind of football we played. Not only because we won the title, but I am very happy that what I train my players on the training ground is what they deliver in matches.”

Addressing the pressure of taking over a team that had won the previous season’s title, Gamond remained composed, stating: “I had no pressure at all. I was calm, knowing that in football, pressure can’t be avoided. Sometimes moments like that make you think and come up with an idea to win. To me, pressure is a responsibility.”

Looking ahead, Gamond outlined his plans for the club, expressing his ambition to elevate Young Africans SC to be among the top five best teams in Africa. He revealed discussions with the club’s president, Eng Hersi Saidi, to strategize for the upcoming season, expressing optimism for even greater success in the future.

The match against Mtibwa Sugar saw Yanga facing a challenging first half, with the Millers taking the lead with a goal in the 32nd minute, scored by striker Charles Ilamfya. 

Despite Yanga’s efforts, the first half ended with the hosts maintaining their 1-0 lead.

The 30 times champions came back strong in the second half, making strategic substitutions that changed the course of the game. 

Goalkeeper Djigui Diarra was replaced by Aboutwalib Mashery, followed by three simultaneous changes, bringing in Nickson Kibabage, Clement Mzize, and Pacome Zouzoua.

These changes injected pace into Yanga’s attack, resulting in an equalizing goal by striker Kennedy Musonda. However, Yanga surged ahead once again in the 66th minute, with Mtibwa Sugar defender Nasri Kombo scoring an own goal against the run of play.

Undeterred, Yanga continued to press forward, ultimately securing victory with Mzize’s goal in the 81st minute, following an assist from skipper Bakari Mwamnyeto.

Despite their spirited performance, Mtibwa Sugar’s inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities and defensive lapses proved costly, allowing Yanga to emerge victorious.

Yanga’s strategic changes in the second half proved pivotal, as they increased the tempo of their attack, overwhelming Mtibwa’s defense and sealing their triumph in the match.

Mtibwa Sugar find themselves entrenched at the bottom of the table, embroiled in a battle to stave off relegation. Out of the 27 matches contested, they’ve garnered a mere 20 points, clinching victory in just five encounters, drawing five, and succumbing to defeat in 17 matches.

The upcoming trio of fixtures holds immense significance for their survival bid, necessitating a haul of all nine points to evade relegation. 

Their itinerary includes a crucial home clash against Namungo FC, followed by an away encounter against Mashujaa FC, culminating in a decisive face-off with Ihefu FC away.

With their fate hanging in the balance, these concluding matches will determine whether Mtibwa Sugar can escape the perils of relegation or succumb to the challenges that lie ahead. 

Each fixture presents a pivotal opportunity for them to secure their status in the league and defy the looming threat of demotion.