Why a single match against Gor Mahia could define Yanga's preseason amidst CECAFA ambiguity

Why a single match against Gor Mahia could define Yanga's preseason amidst CECAFA ambiguity

Festus Chuma 20:55 - 27.06.2024

There is uncertainty over Yanga's CECAFA participation, with a likely single preseason match against Gor Mahia in Kisumu planned.

Tanzanian heavyweights Young Africans are gearing up for a potentially exclusive pre-season clash against Gor Mahia, amid uncertainties surrounding their participation in the upcoming CECAFA Kagame Cup.

While the draw for the tournament has yet to be finalized, Yanga's pre-season plans suggest a single encounter with the Kenyan champions could be on the cards.

Yanga, fresh from a triumphant 2023-24 season which saw them clinch their 30th Mainland Premier League title and the Federation Cup, have laid out an ambitious pre-season itinerary.

The team plans to venture beyond their usual Dar es Salaam base in Kigamboni, setting their sights on international grounds.

This includes a training camp in South Africa and a high-profile friendly against Kaizer Chiefs in July, followed by a trip to Kenya.

In Kenya, Yanga is scheduled to participate in the grand opening of a new stadium in Kisumu, where they are set to face Gor Mahia.

Ally Kamwe, Yanga’s information officer, expressed enthusiasm about the pre-season arrangements.

"This time we are coming differently from previous seasons. We expect to camp in South Africa, at the invitation of various clubs, and we have to go to Kenya for the opening of a stadium in Kisumu," Kamwe stated, as per The Guardian.

The potential for additional encounters between Yanga and Gor Mahia through the CECAFA Kagame Cup remains a topic of speculation.

Gor Mahia has confirmed their participation in the regional tournament, which often features some of the best clubs in East and Central Africa.

However, Yanga's commitment to the tournament is still under wraps.

Kamwe highlighted the benefits of their planned pre-season, particularly the competitive edge it could provide.

"We believe it will be a good pre-season because we will have friendly matches with great competition to prepare for the 2024-25 season,” he explained.

Such a focused pre-season could be critical for Yanga as they look to improve their continental performances, following their quarterfinal exit in the last CAF Champions League.

Despite these extensive preparations and the clear advantages of engaging in regional competitions like the CECAFA Kagame Cup, Yanga's silence on their participation adds an element of uncertainty.

This makes the friendly against Gor Mahia in Kisumu potentially the only encounter between the two teams in the near term.

The situation is further complicated by Yanga's ongoing efforts in the transfer market.

After renewing the contract of head coach Miguel Gamondi, the club is keen on reinforcing its squad to maintain domestic dominance and enhance its Champions League prospects.

Participation in the CECAFA Kagame Cup could offer valuable match experience against regional rivals yet Yanga’s strategic focus appears to be elsewhere.

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