MAINLAND champions, Simba registered a slight advantage as they were held to a barren draw by UD Songo of Mozambique away in a CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg clash yesterday.
Their traditional rivals Young Africans failed to capitalise on a home advantage after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Botswana side Township Rollers at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam in the same tournament.
As expected, it was a tough test for Yanga, who lost 2-1 on aggregate to Township Rollers at the 1/16th round of the same competition two seasons ago.
Yanga had to wait until five minutes to the final whistle to register a draw, when Patrick Sibomana netted through a spot kick to cancel out Phenyo Serameng's strike in the 7th minute.
The spot kick was awarded to Yanga after a defender handed the ball in an attempt to clear the danger in the box.
It was the second penalty of the day for Yanga and Sibomana, as he missed a 31st minute spot kick that was saved by goalkeeper, Wagarre Dikago. Striker, Juma Balinya crosses in and Mapinduzi Balama flying header was handed by a defender in the box.
Yanga will need to win away or register a draw of more than two goals to progress into the first round of the continental top tier club championship.
A barren draw will see Yanga out of the tournament. The return leg will take place in Gaborone two weeks later and aggregate winner of the match will face winner of the match between Zambia's Zesco and Green Mamba of Eswatini.
In Beira, it was somewhat an advantage for the Msimbazi Street lads, who will now need a victory of any kind or avoid a draw involving goals in the return leg clash to be staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam two weeks later for them to sail through into the first round.
Simba reached the last eight last term, and now they face a huge challenge of replicating their fine form this season. Simba new signing goalkeeper, Beno Kakolanya who joined the club from their rivals Yanga started between the posts and kept a clean sheet.
In the match, host UD Songo wasted glorious chances especially in the first half as Simba defence made several mistakes. Simba, who played cautiously attempted in the 18th minute but Meddie Kagere, failed to connect the ball off a John Bocco's cross inside the box.
In the second half, Simba introduced Muzamir Yassin for Clatous Chama, Deo Kanda came in for Francis Kahata and later, Hassan Dilunga replaced Jonas Mkude as Simba looked a slightly improved side.
The winner of the two legged tie will face the winner of the match between Zimbabwe's FC Platinum and Malawi's Big Bullets in the first round of the tournament.
Other Mainland representatives, KMC who are making the bow in CAF Confederation Cup also forced a barren draw against host AS Kigali away in Kigali, Rwanda in the preliminary round, first leg yesterday.
KMC are participating at the continental level for the first time ever after finishing fourth last season. They will also need to win at home in two weeks' time to progress into the first round of the tournament.
If KMC win, they will face winner of the match between Uganda Proline FC and Masters Security of Malawi. The day also saw Zanzibar side KMKM losing 2-0 to Premero de Agosto of Angola at the Amani Stadium in Zanzibar yesterday in CAF champions League, preliminary round, first leg.
Manuel David put the visitors ahead in the 71st minute before Salomoto Manuel Troco netted the second in the dying minutes of the game. Azam FC are in Ethiopia ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round clash against Fasil Kenema today.
The Chamazi-based club returns to continental competition after a two-year hiatus, but have a lot to do in Gondar, the hometown to Kenema before the return leg two weeks later in Dar es Salaam in their quest to go far in the second-tier continental club competition.