Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

30 July 2012

Tanzania: Saintfiet Savours Yanga Success

COACH Tom Saintfiet savoured his instant impact at Yanga after he on Saturday helped the club defend its Cecafa Kagame Cup title following a 2-0 win over Azam FC in the final of the regional club championship.

Yanga won back to back regional titles and won it in style, defeating favourites Azam FC, who had dispatched the former's archrivals Simba with a 3-1 defeat in the quarterfinal and sent off AS Vita of Congo in the semis with a 2-1 defeat.

Goals from Hamis Kiiza and Said Bahanuz in either half proved enough to see off the challenge of Azam who were looking trying to win their first silverware in their first appearance at the coveted regional meet.

Saintfiet who took over as Yanga coach earlier this month, replacing sacked Kostadin Papic, was delighted that he has lived up to his promise to guide the team to the regional glory.

Saintfiet said it was not an easy task retaining the crown as it was a difficult tournament and that he took charge of Yanga few days before the championship, which brought together eleven teams, ten from the Cecafa region and AS Vita DR Congo, who featured as invitees.

The Belgium native particularly pointed out to the final match against Azam FC, saying it was a very difficult game, which was stiffly contested and they had to be resilient to overcome the determined Stewart Hall's side. He hailed Azam as a strong team, which plays fantastic football and that it was never going to be easy for his team.

According to him Azam were the better team in the first half, especially the opening ten minutes, but his side reorganized and played well after the break. Saintfiet reserved special praises to Azam player Salum Abubakar 'Sure Boy', saying the diminutive midfielder, son of former Yanga star Abubakar Salum, was brilliant throughout the tournament.

The win saw Yanga pocket USD 30000 while the Azam FC took home silver and USD 20,000. Third-placed AS Vita, who defeated APR 2-1 in the play-off got USD 10,000. Earlier this month, the Belgium tactician vowed to bring three major trophies to the Jangwani club after agreeing a two-year deal with the Premier League side.

"I will begin to defend the Kagame Cup, this is the big task of my job - and then I will aim to bring the Vodacom Premier League trophy back to Jangwani", it was Saintfiet's pledge to Yanga fans and he has fulfilled one.

Saintfiet vowed to make history with Yanga, by winning all three major titles, including the CAF Champions League. "I have come to Tanzania to teach Yanga, I want to achieve success. And I want Yanga to prove that I am the right choice" said Saintfiet.

"I will begin to defend the Kagame Cup, this is the big task of my job - and then I will aim to bring the Vodacom Premier League tropy back to Jangwani", he added.

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