Mugove Chigada in MAHAJANGA, Madagascar
HARARE City defensive midfielder Tendai Samanja says they cannot afford to let Zanaco of Zambia score goals at Rufaro like what happened when they played AS Adema of Madagascar.
Samanja, who bounced back into the team after missing the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, first leg tie, said their battle here was made tougher by the events at Rufaro where AS Adema scored two goals.
Harare City won 3-1 at the Rabemananjara Stadium in Mahajanga, going through 6-3 on aggregate.
The former Monomotapa and CAPS United midfielder reckons the aggregate score was not a true reflection of the pressure they faced on Sunday.
“The first goal they scored in the first half was enough for them to go through, so you can imagine the pressure we were in.
“Even when we scored the equaliser, it still meant that just a goal from them to make it 2-1 in their favour would have taken them through.
“We had to dig deep and even after scoring the second goal, we still needed an assurance goal and I’m happy to say we did the job well,” said Samanja.
The defensive midfielder partnered Edwin Madhananga and James Jam in midfield, with Jam playing in a more advanced position.
Although it was meant to be a defensive approach to the game, Harare City were extremely offensive with Ronald Chitiyo and Raphael Manuvire on the flanks.
Francisco Zekumbawira was the target man.
Kuda Kumwala replaced Francisco after the former Hwange and Dynamos striker sustained an injury after 37 minutes.
Asked on how it felt like missing the first leg and then bouncing back, Samanja said he accepted the coach’s decision.
“The coaches know what they want for a particular game. In that case there was only one position for the holding role and in this case there were at least three positions for similar players, myself, Jam and Madhananga.
“I always play to the best of my ability when given a chance and I’m happy we got the result that we needed.”
Samanja and the two other midfielders made play practically impossible in the middle of the park, with the fast AS Adema side resorting to counter-attacks.
Having watched fellow country men CAPS Sport dismiss Gor Mahia 1-0 to go through 3-1 in the CAF Champions league the previous day, As Adema were left dejected after the game.
“We played according to instruction and after dominating them, they no longer wanted to play in the last 20 minutes. We were never going to give up after they took that lead,” said Madhananga.
Harare City were expected in the country last night.