KEY players were missing in Young Africans squad that left early yesterday for a return CAF Confederation game against Wollaita Dicha of Ethiopia on Wednesday.
Yanga who relegated to the CAF Confederation play off after losing 2-1 to Township Rollers, won 2-1 in their first leg game held at the National Stadium on April 7. The players missing in the squad included defender Andrew Vincent, custodian Ramadhan Kabwili, Said Mussa and midfielder Ibrahim Ajib.
Ajib was left on health reasons while Kabwili and Mussa are with the National U-20 team, Ngorongoro Heroes. Vincent was still unfit after picking injury during their first leg match against Wollaita Dicha.
The team's Assistant Coach, Shadrack Nsajigwa is tasked toe to ensure his team defend the 2-0 lead and win the Confederation Cup's Group stage ticket. Nsajigwa promised to work hard and win the ticket despite missing the services of the Head Coach, George Lwandamina who has rejoined his Zambian home team, Zesco. Twenty players, including two goalkeepers; Youthe Rostand and Beno Kakolanya, left yesterday for a tough mission in Ethiopia.
Defenders in the list included, Hassan Kessy, Juma Abdul, Mwinyi Haji Mngwali, Gardiel Michael, Abdallah Shaibu, Kelvin Yondan and skipper Nadir Haroub. Midfielders were Papy Tshishimbi, Yussuf Mhilu, Raphael Daud, Pius Buswita, Geoffrey Mwashiuya, Said Juma, Juma Mahadhi, Emmanuel Martin and Thabani Kamusoko. Strikers are Obrey Chirwa and Yohana Nkomola.
Hawassa stadium, about 275 kilometres from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, will decide whether Yanga will cruise into the group stage of the tournament or otherwise. Yanga placed one leg into the group stage of the continental second tier club competitions, after earning a 2-0 victory over the Ethiopians at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, about two weeks ago.
Midfielder, Raphael Daud scored early before attacker Emmanuel Martin extended the lead in the second half, in 2nd 1/16th round first leg. Yanga will now need just a draw of any kind in the return leg to sail through into the group stage.
The Jangwani Street lads were relegated to continental second tier club championship after crashing out of the Champions League on 2-1 aggregate loss to impressive Botswana side Township Rollers. Despite shocking departure of their Zambian tactician, George Lwandamina, Yanga are confident that they will finish off the Ethiopians.
Lwandamina left Yanga in cold last Tuesday and has since rejoined his former Zambian side Zesco United, which is currently competing in the CAF Champions League. Going into the clash, Yanga have received a major boost, with four key players who missed the first leg due to suspension back in the squad.
Dependable central defender, Kelvin Yondani, midfielder Pappy Kabamba Tshishimbi, Said Makapu and Zambian striker, Obrey Chirwa are all back in the squad. Yanga need to defend their home victory to eliminate the Ethiopians and book a place in the group stage of the tournament for the third time, as they did in 1998 and 2016, respectively.
The last time they qualified for the group stage was in 2016, after eliminating Angolans side Sagrada Esperanca on 2-1 goals on aggregate following a 2-0 win in Dar es Salaam. Goals were netted by Simon Msuva and Anthony Matheo. Yanga lost 1-0 in the return leg in Angola.