Simba SC and Yanga react to CAF Champions League quarterfinal draw

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 01:05 PM Mar 15 2024
Simba SC and Yanga
Photo: Guardian Correspondent
Simba SC and Yanga

THE CAF Champions League quarterfinal draw that took place in Cairo on Tuesday afternoon brought excitement and renewed focus for Tanzania’s representatives, Simba SC and Young Africans SC.

Both teams knew their opponents, setting the stage for crucial matches in their continental journey.

Simba SC and Young Africans SC have been pitted against formidable opponents- Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns- in the upcoming quarterfinals.

The draw set the stage for intense clashes between African football giants.

For Simba SC, their encounter with Al Ahly marks a historic moment as it is the two teams' first meeting in the knockout phase of the CAF Champions League.


Simba SC, facing Egyptian giants Al Ahly once again, acknowledged the challenge through their assistant coach, Selemani Matola.

Matola disclosed: “Facing them is inevitable at this stage. We’ve met them several times before, with mixed results. We recently faced them in the African Football League, but luck wasn’t on our side. Now, it’s time to play our cards right and fight for victory.”

The tactician highlighted Simba SC’s familiarity with Al Ahly, emphasizing: “No player, technical staff member, or even leader on the team is unfamiliar with them.”

This experience, coupled with Simba SC's determination, suggests the outfit is approaching the encounter with a strategic mindset.

Young Africans SC, also known as Yanga, drawn against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, expressed a different perspective. 

Miguel Gamondi, Yanga's head coach, downplayed having any pressure, stating: “We have no home game pressure. We’re preparing diligently to ensure we progress, maintaining our strong showing against familiar opponents.”

The Argentine acknowledged the caliber of their opponents, noting: “We’re facing the best team in Africa. They have a proven track record, and nobody reaches this stage by chance.”

This recognition underscores the respect Yanga holds for Mamelodi Sundowns. Gamondi also addressed the economic disparity between the two teams.

“Mamelodi Sundowns undoubtedly has a larger budget, giving them a seemingly greater chance of winning,” he conceded.

He pointed out a recent instance in which Mamelodi Sundowns acquired a player for a substantial sum, contrasting it with Yanga’s Joseph Guede and Augustin Okrah free agent signings.

However, Gamondi emphasized that financial muscle doesn’t dictate the outcome on the field. “Once the whistle blows, it’s 11 against 11,” he declared.

This statement reflects Yanga’s determination to overcome any financial disadvantage through sheer talent and tactical prowess.

Both Simba SC and Yanga face formidable opponents in the CAF Champions League quarterfinals.

While Simba SC seeks to overcome a familiar foe, Yanga embraces the challenge of facing a top African team.

The coaches' statements reveal a blend of cautious optimism and unwavering determination.

Simba SC acknowledges the challenge but draws confidence from past encounters. Yanga, recognizing the opponent’s strength, emphasizes their focus and belief in their abilities.

In addition to these thrilling matchups, TP Mazembe is set to battle Petro de Luanda, while Esperance will go head-to-head with ASEC Mimosas in other quarterfinal fixtures.

The anticipation for these clashes is palpable as teams gear up to showcase their prowess on the continental stage.

The first leg fixtures are scheduled to take place between March 29-30, with the second legs set for April 5-6.

Football enthusiasts can expect exhilarating performances and nail-biting moments as these teams vie for a coveted spot in the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League.