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Azam fate in Yanga’s hands

FORMIDABLE Young Africans will be battling for supremacy today when they take on Azam FC in their group B last match of the ongoing Mapinduzi Cup tournament at the Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar.

Tonight’s game against Azam is just a mere formality game to the Jangwani Street based club, who are yet to feel the pinch of defeat, after recording two consecutive victories without conceding a goal. Yanga have already booked their place into the semi-finals of the annual tournament, while Azam face a must win situation to reach the last four.

Azam face an early elimination threat unless they win by a big margin in their last group B match against high-flying Mainland champions under Zambian tactician, George Lwandamina. It is a must win game for Azam and the first big test for their newly promoted Caretaker coach, Iddi Cheche.

Azam who recently parted ways with their technical bench under Spaniard, Zeben Hernandez, called Cheche, who previously trained the youth team to take over. Cheche side opened well their Mapinduzi Cup championship campaign with a slim 1-0 win over Zimamoto before being forced to share points with Jamhuri.

A draw with Jamhuri put Azam in a difficult position; hence they must win at any cost to ensure Azam are placed second behind Yanga after posting four points, two goals for and one against. Yanga continue to command the Group B race with six points garnered from their two-match win.

They have so far recorded the best goal average of +8 GD (Goal difference) as opposed to +1 GD stamped by their closest pursuers, Azam FC. Hosts Jamhuri are placed third with a point and fourth-placed Zimamoto are pointless at the bottom of the table.

Commenting on today’s game, Yanga Assistant Coach Juma Mwambusi made it clear that they will go for a win. He said they have no any fear of their opponents and they are looking at maintaining their winning formula.

“Our target is to grab all three points so as to wind up the group campaign unbeaten. We know our opponents well and we respect them ... they have been giving us difficult time whenever we meet but this time around, they must be ready for the baptism of fire.

We are not going to let them disrupt our good run,” he said. Azam caretaker coach, Cheche predicted a tough encounter despite boasting that they are well prepared for the battle to ensure they get positive results.

“It is going to be a mouthwatering but difficult encounter. We are prepared well and we promise our supporters to expect the best tomorrow (today),” he said. Azam players are hopeful to emerge victors in today’s clash as the team’s captain, John Bocco claimed.

Bocco, the team’s leading hitman, assured the team’s fans and supporters of a victory despite depicting a tough challenge he and his team-mates will face to Yanga. “We were unlucky in our last game against Jamhuri, as draw was not what we expected. We are now looking forward to win our last game against Yanga.

We believe we can,” he added. In last year’s tournament, the two sides met in the same group stage and the encounter ended in a 1-1 draw with Azam taking the lead through its former winger Kipre Tchetche, before Yanga equalised through their Togolese defender Vicent Bossou.

In another Group B match to be played at Amaan Stadium today, Jamhuri will have to defeat Zimamoto by seven clear goals, if they want to cruise into the semis, while praying that Azam lose against Yanga.

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