Marumo Gallants, a South African club, faces a daunting task as they seek to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their CAF Confederation Cup semifinal against Young Africans.
Young Africans, who recently clinched the Ligi Kuu Tanzania Bara title, are brimming with confidence following their domestic success and are now eager to secure their first-ever trophy in CAF club competition. Meanwhile, Gallants must contend with various distractions, including a crucial DStv Premiership fixture this weekend that could determine their relegation fate. The club has refuted rumors of players refusing to train over bonus disputes, as stated in a Twitter statement.
Despite the off-pitch challenges, Gallants put up a commendable performance in the first leg but failed to convert their chances, allowing Young Africans to score twice in the final thirty minutes for a 2-0 victory. Coach Raymond Mdaka expressed frustration over the missed opportunities but remains hopeful about his team’s chances of causing another upset to progress to the final.
Mdaka is optimistic about the potential return of Celimpilo Ngema, who would provide strength in the central midfield alongside Lucky Mohomi. The responsibility of scoring goals falls on the in-form striker Ranga Chivaviro, with support from Katlego Otladisa and Letsie Koapeng. The defense, led by goalkeeper Washington Arubi, performed admirably in the first leg.
Young Africans’ supporters are still reveling in the glory of their recent domestic championship triumph. Despite holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, head coach Nasreddine Nabi expressed dissatisfaction with his team’s finishing and plans to adopt a different approach in the away leg. Nabi acknowledges Gallants’ midfield strength and emphasizes the importance of finding an early goal in Rustenberg to force Gallants to win by a four-goal margin in order to advance.
Although Ghanaian playmaker Bernard Morrison, who scored in the first leg, will be unavailable due to legal issues, Young Africans possess talented attackers such as Fiston Mayele from Congo and Stephane Aziz Ki from Burkina Faso, offering alternative sources of goals.
The defense, comprising entirely of Tanzanian players, will rely on captain Bakari Mwamnyeto and Ibrahim Hamad to maintain their solid performance from the first leg, providing a protective shield for goalkeeper Djigui Diarra from Mali.