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Yanga plot to trample Gor Mahia on home turf

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Yanga players training at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on July 17, 2018 before their game against Gor Mahia. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17- Tanzanian giants Young Africans (Yanga) have vowed to leave Nairobi with maximum points when they take on record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia in a CAF Confederation Cup Group D clash at the Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Tanzanians sit bottom of the group with a single point gained from their 0-0 draw with Rayon Sports at home while Gor are a point above them at second from back to back draws against Rayon and leaders USM Alger.

“We know that this match is very important to us because if we have to progress we need to win. We have prepared very well for this game and we will ensure that we leave Kenya with three points,” skipper Juma Abdul said ahead of the fixture.

The last time these two sides met was in 2015 during the CECAFA Kagame Cup in Dar es Salaam with Gor Mahia ending up 2-1 winners. But since then, things have changed, including personnel on both sides.

Juma is the only surviving member from that squad with the other, Kevin Yondani failing to travel alongside Hassan Kessy due to a contractual stand off with the club’s management.

Assistant coach Juma Mensah meanwhile expects a tough duel from the home side but remains confident that his charges have prepared better for the game and will be in a good frame to vie for maximum points.

Yanga assistant coach Juma Mensah addresses the press during their pre-match briefing at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on July 17, 2018 before their game against Gor Mahia. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The match will be make or break for Yanga as a loss would dampen their hopes of making it into the knockout phases.

“Coming into this game, we know that every team has a chance to qualify and it is a very important match. We know we are coming up against a good side which is also looking to qualify but looking at the way we have prepared, we are ready to face the resistance and have a positive result to help us qualify for next stage,” the tactician said.

He added; “We watched Gor Mahia during the SportPesa Super Cup and we also watched them at the Kagame Cup. They are a very good team and we know their strengths and weaknesses. We will be ready to face them.”

Yanga passed on the opportunity of playing at the Kagame Cup and have had a three-week rest period which sees them approach the much fresher compared to Gor who have played six matches within the last two weeks.

Nonetheless, Mensah does not believe that will place them at an advantageous position, especially noting K’Ogalo are playing at home.

Young Africans (Yanga) players line up before their SportPesa Super Cup match against Kakamega Homeboyz at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 3, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, the team says they will not be deterred despite a few off-pitch matters affecting them including two key players, Kevin Yondani and Hassan Kessy failing to travel for the duel due to a contractual stand of with the management.

The team has also not had the best of results on the pitch, but they say they are ready for a turn around.

“We came off a period whereby we had very good results over a period of four years. But it is normal all over the world. There are times you are up and others you are down. You can’t be up all the time. But we know that we can turn things around with a good result against Gor Mahia,” skipper Abdul noted.

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