TAIFA Stars face a tricky fixture against Lesotho in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at the Azam’s Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam tomorrow and nothing but victory will fascinate Tanzanians.
Stars need a win to hit the ground running in their dream of reaching the first ever AFCON finals since 1980. The AFCON finals will be held in Cameroon.
As the country’s attention was for the past few weeks directed towards the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon where Serengeti Boys bowed out gallantly, the focus will now switch to the national senior side, Taifa Stars, which of recent has been on a down spiral.
Stars has been experiencing a topsy-turvy placing in the monthly FIFA rankings, following dismal campaigns in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers and 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Going into the tomorrow’s match, Head Coach Salum Mayanga has picked a 23 strongman squad and many Tanzanians are hoping for good results basing on the kind of preparations the team went through, including a weeklong camp in Egypt.
Having been paired in Group L in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, alongside Lesotho, Cape Verde Island and Uganda, mathematically it seems to be not so difficult task for the flag bearers, even though on ground still remains a puzzle hard to comprehend.
And, against the team they are almost at the same level, Stars’ have got the glorious opportunity to showcase their maturity to win. Mayanga’s lads need to fire from all cylinders to claim maximum points at home in all group stage matches and this will see them garnering nine points.
By winning all home matches and forcing at least two away draws, Taifa Star’s chances of making it to the bi annual competition will certainly be attainable.
Basing on the selection of players in the team many Tanzanians do not see Stars losing to Lesotho but surely the task isn’t easy and players should stay warned that they should be at their best form to get clear victory and put themselves on course for qualification.
The good thing is that Stars will be playing at their own back yard and maximum support from fans is guaranteed and so to say, a win should also be guaranteed.
A word of caution though to Stars players, technical bench and the TFF, is that they should avoid complacency just because they will be playing at home because any such inclination might cost them dearly.