Young Africans (Yanga SC) acting coach Riedoh Berdien is confident the team will still challenge for the titles in the new season despite axing 14 players in the ongoing transfer window.
The Jangwani giants shocked many including their fans after they moved to send home 14 players, among them captain Papy Tshishimbi, after they finished the 2019-20 Mainland Premier League campaign without silverware.
Other played released included Congolese striker David Molinga, ex-Gor Mahia striker Gnamien Yikpe, Mrisho Ngassa, Jafary Mohamed, Mohamed Issa Banka, Tariq Seif, Andrew Vincent Dante, Patrick Sibomana, Muharami Issa, Ali Ali, Rafael Daud, Ali Mtoni Sonso and Eric Kabamba.
Berdien, who was working under coach Luc Eymael as the fitness coach before the Belgian was shown the exit door, has been handed the mantle to handle the side on a temporary basis as they search for a permanent coach ahead of the new season, which is set to kick off on September 6.
Berdien has now told Goal it was a blow for the Tanzanian giants to lose 14 players in one go but admitted the few players in camp have already responded well in training and promised to build a winning culture at the club.
“You know we just started pre-season for a week, the players that are in pre-season have responded well to training,” Berdien told Goal on Sunday.
“We are still waiting for the new coach to be named and a few more signings to come through but we still have a good chance now to instil a football fitness working culture with this great club.”
On whether the club will feel any impact after releasing 14 players, Berdien explained: “Of course losing those players is a huge blow but Rome was not built in a day.
“The club is very busy with a great restructuring process both in the management and in how it wants the players to play and work in re-growing the Yanga brand.”
Yanga have already plunged into the transfer market to sign defender Bakari Mwamnyeto from Coastal Union, Yassin Mustapha from Polisi Tanzania, Zawadi Mauya from Kagera Sugar, Abdallah Shaibu from LA Galaxy II, Waziri Junior from Mbao FC, Kibwana Shomari from Mtibwa Sugar and Farid Mussa from CD Tenerife in Spain.
The Timu ya Wananchi had a disappointing campaign in the last season where they failed to reach the final of the FA Cup after losing to eventual winners and rivals Simba SC, and could only finish a distant second on the table.
They have also been linked a number of foreign players, among them Kenyans Jesse Were and John Makwatta, who play for Zesco United, Sven Yidah of Kariobangi Sharks, Erick Rutanga of Rayon Sports and Mukoko Tonombe of AS Vita Club from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.