Young Africans are one of the biggest football clubs in East Africa, and this can be confirmed by their illustrious history of cup success and delivering players for the Tanzanian national team, ‘The Taifa Stars.
‘Yanga’ as Young Africans are proudly called in the East African state, was formed in 1935, two years before their bitter-rivals Simba SC was conceived in 1937.
The founding fathers of Yanga had a vision to build a multi-coded, encompassing and all-inclusive sporting club, capable of attracting the best young players across all the sporting platforms. This remarkable concept is followed by successful institutions like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Al Ahly, and has cemented these clubs at the forefront of sporting history for decades.
In driving into the city centre, one is confronted by the yellow and green building, ‘Yanga Headquarters’ (HQ). At the Yanga HQ, the club has offices for the Supporters coordinators, Deputy General Secretary and Head of Finance.
Other parts of the building include a swimming pool, meeting and press conference room, section for players leisure, accommodation and club merchandise shop. The economic activity in and around Yanga HQ is testimony to the vision and brand positioning, that is synonymous with old and current leadership of the club. A team bus stationed outside the centre attracts lot of attention and many tourist groups continuously take photos and memorabilia available at the club’s centre.
Furthermore, the intriguing success of the Yanga model, is the centrality and the role played by its members. Yanga is not privately owned, but its members (supporters and fans) who are registered own the club. This astonishing revelation, only confirms the true nature of the club’s DNA in terms of a collaborative approach between a successful institution and its members.
Interestingly, the club membership record is kept in a traditional manner by physically writing down the name in a Hall of Fame book. Some of the names in that book include famous politicians, ministers and important members from different generations to date.
In moving with the times, the club hierarchy has now introduced an application (an app) that will allow their multitude of the members and supporters to access the club’s information and be active in the proceedings on and off the pitch.
Yanga has been very progressive in terms of youth development and women’s football. The club has two boys teams (Under-17 and Under-19) playing in the local league and a prominent women’s team called ‘Yanga Princesses’ also participating with their fellow ladies in a competitive league.