Fondly referred to as ‘Cannavaro’, after the legendary former Italian captain, he has served one of the major reasons behind the impressive performance of Tanzania champions, Young Africans, campaign in the continental club championship, reaching the pool stage of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time.
Ahead of the match, Haroub talks to CAFonline.com about his career, Yanga reaching the last eight for the first time amongst others;
Cafonline.com: Yanga is in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time, and it was achieved under your tenure as captain. What is the feeling like?
Nadir Haroub: I joined Yanga in 2005, 11-years ago and during that period, we could not make it to the group stage. I have been captain for more than five years, and it has not been easy to make it happen. We have a good and determined squad, and we fought as much as we can. Finally, we achieved what others could not.
You have been a regular with Yanga over the years. Any secret?
I know football is my venture and I work hard for it. I observe the principles of football and protect my body as much as I can. Honestly, it was not easy to penetrate into the first 11. It took me two years to make it and few more years to be a frequent feature.
What is your take on the rivalry between Yanga and Simba in Tanzanian football?
The rivalry between the two Dar es Salaam-based clubs is fantastic and it rocks Tanzanian football. From 2006-2010, Simba had the best run, beating Yanga at will. Things have changed now and Yanga has turned the clock. During these derbies, you will hear a lot of promises from supporters; with some pledging huge sums of money. If your team is not in a good form you will not win.
Yanga has won the Tanzania Premier League back-to-back the last two seasons. What went into that feat?
We have invested in the squad for the past two years and we deserve the performances. Every member of the team has worked hard and dreams higher.
You were a member of the Tanzania squad for the maiden African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2009 in Cote d’Ivoire. What are your memories of that tournament?
We had a better squad at the time and we worked very hard. I am happy that I was among the players who participated in the tournament. Frankly, we haven’t qualified again because of our perspective of football; we have not invested in football as much as other countries. How can we qualify then?
In 2009, you were in Canada for professional football. Why did you find your way home that early?
I signed a one year deal with Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada in 2009. I was not happy there and saw no reason to extend my contract.
You recently announced your retirement from the Tanzania national team. What triggered that decision?
I was captain of the national team for more than five years. Unfortunately, the current coach (Boniface Mkwasa), announced a new captain when he took over. I was disappointed because I was not notified. I spoke to my family and decided that I was going to hang up my boot after the AFCON 2017 qualifier against Nigeria. I had to do it because I wasn’t having enough rest. Unfortunately, after what happened I had to do it much earlier, that was the only way.