TAIFA Stars Head Coach Salum Mayanga acknowledged disappointment at his side’s 1-1 home draw with Lesotho in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, but vowed to bounce back and fight for a place in Cameroon.
Taifa Stars’ AFCON qualifying campaign got off to a slow start when they were frustrated by minnows Lesotho at the Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam on Saturday night.
Skipper Mbwana Samatta’s 27th minute opener was cancelled out just seven minutes later by Thapelo Tale with the visitors successful managing to shut out Samatta and co. for the reminder of the Group L.
“I must concede a draw result at home is not a good result. We started the game very well and scored a goal unfortunately we’re not very careful and gave them an easy chance to equalize,” said Mayanga.
Mayanga’s charges were frustrated by Lesotho’s defensive approach thereafter. “They resorted to a tight defensive approach and made it difficult for us to create easy chances to score the second or third goal.
Football is a game of plans and they employed their plan worked out well and at the end of the game they got the result they wanted.” Mayanga said they will go back to the drawing board and address their shortcomings, warning that they must cut out defensive lapses to excel in competitions.
“It’s a challenge for me, I believe we’ll go back to the training ground and work on our mistakes ahead of our next matches. We must avoid giving away cheap goals,” he charged, adding; “We’re not dead with this draw, we’re still alive and we’ll fight on.”
KRC Genk ace Samatta apparently lamented the decision to shift the match to Azam Complex, saying the venue’s small size worked out in favour of Lesotho. “If you compare the National Stadium and this one, you play with more freedom when playing at National Stadium, this ground favoured Lesotho,” Samatta complained after the match.
The Taifa Stars captain, cut a frustrated figure at some stage of the game and almost lost his temper at some point, said was not happy with failure to make home ground advantage count.
“I don’t like to lose and was not happy with the draw as well. We’re playing at home and needed maximum result simply because we’re playing in the group stage whereas it is very important to capitalize on home ground,” said Samatta.
Lesotho Coach Moses Malieho was delighted with the outcome and suggested any team from the group, which also includes Uganda and Cape Verde, can qualify to the 2019 AFCON finals slated for Cameroon.
“We expected to get this kind of game, because it’s away game, so it was tough. You look at my players they played beyond 90 minutes. A good thing about this game is we have prepared very well for this game and a draw for us is a bonus, we wanted to win but it didn’t come because we’re playing a good country, Tanzania they are playing very well, they are hard runners on the pitch,” he said.
Malieho revealed that they did their homework on how to play against Tanzanians and it paid off.
“We had a tape when Tanzania played Botswana, we started playing from there, we know Tanzania is a good team, we know they have one player who plays in Belgium, that’s why we assigned our number 6 to pick him up so that he doesn’t have a chance, you look at how he scored, he scored from a set piece he didn’t score on the run of the game,” he added.