- Published on Saturday, 18 August 2012 01:40
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
- Hits: 436
THE national senior soccer team, Taifa Stars coach, Kim Poulsen has been impressed by youth players in his squad during their away friendly encounter against Botswana’s Zebras on Wednesday in Gaborone, Botswana.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the arrival from Botswana at the Julius Nyerere International Airport on Thursday evening, the Dane tactician said the team, which is sponsored by the Kilimanjaro Beer Brand played well throughout the game.
During the encounter which ended on a 3-3 draw, Poulsen said the young players’ brilliant performance helped the team attain positive results against the home team.
“The team played well despite the minor mistakes especially in the defence side which failed to cope with the pace of our opponent attacking line,” he said, insisting that he will need time to work with the team’s problems at the back, which looked fragile.
“Defenders should not allow so many cross balls and need to keep tight marking against opponent strikers when crosses are played into the box. Defensively we have a lot of work to do as a unit to do much better.” Poulsen would at least be pleased with his side’s offensive play, as they finally looked well on fire, scoring three goals against the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations participants, away from home.
He commanded striking partnership of Haruna Moshi (Boban) and Mrisho Ngassa, saying the pair played a well coordinated game. “Even when Simon (Msuva) came in as a substitute still it was a good combination with Ngassa,” said Poulsen.
Mercurial winger Mrisho Ngassa was unarguably the star of Taifa Stars’s offensive show after the Simba player won first-half penalty and notched a late equalizer to spare his side’s blushes. The former national youth team coach also paid tribute to the team’s midfield, saying Athumani Iddi (Chuji), Shaabani Nditi, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Frank Domayo all together displayed fantastic skills at the pack of the field and they followed his instructions.
“That is why I say openly that our team is in good shape at present because the player’s are committed, focused and they embrace team work,” he said. Poulsen said Botswana’s Zebra is a good side and played well taking into account that they stayed in camp for long time, adding that he could not compare their opponent training to that of his side.
“Our opponent played a good number of international friendly matches compared to my side, that is why I commend my lads,” he observed. The team captain, Juma Kaseja said they put up a spirited fight in Botswana but was quick to suggest that young players in the side need to get more exposure to a number of international games to gain much needed confidence.
Erasto Nyoni opened the scoring from the spot kick to give Taifa Stars a 1-0 lead in the early minutes of the game with Lemponye equalizing for the Zebras in the 26th minute. Taifa Stars regained the lead five minutes later thanks to Mwinyi Kazimoto’s long range drive to make it 2-1, but Botswana hit back when Lemponye got his brace to level the matters for the Zebras in the 37th minute.
On resumption, Mogaladi scored for the Zebras to make the scoreline 3-2 against Taifa stars, as the home side went ahead for the first time in the game. But Taifa Stars had the last say as Mrisho Ngassa scored a heroic goal in the final stages of the game to earn Taifa Stars a well deserved 3-3 draw against the Zebras.