HEAD of Youth Football Development, Kim Poulsen has expressed his satisfaction with the level of competition displayed by the provisional Under 20 national football team, Ngorongoro Heroes squad, currently training at Karume Memorial Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
He said this yesterday exclusively to the ‘Daily News’ shortly after guiding the squad to the morning training session. “We started the camp with 50 players, but now the number has been reduced to 40 players and the process of trimming will continue until we get at least 30 players, ready for the competitive games.
“The boys are really fighting hard to secure a place in the final squad of the team. Even the former Serengeti Boys players who travelled to Gabon for the U-17 Africa Youth Championships (AYC) and have been included in the provisional squad are facing tough competition from the new boys, as they too, would like to step their feet into the U-20 team,” Poulsen said.
He further said on Saturday, they are planning to play two friendly matches at JK Youth Park in the city with teams from the Mainland League (yet to be confirmed) as one way to expose the squad.
Adding, Poulsen said with the current trend of developing football standards from the grass root level in the country, it is evident that in few years to come, the senior national football team Taifa Stars will have capable players able to win big tournaments in the world.
The former Taifa Stars mentor seized the opportunity to request coaches of the Mainland Premier League teams to use young players in their starting line-ups, so as to give them enough playing time.
“In my own personal view, I would like to suggest that coaches should not be afraid to try the upcoming talent because the more they play matches, the better they become and through that, other teams whether local or international can see their potential,” he said.
Also, Poulsen said it would be a good idea to see the Under-20 national football team competing in the top flight league, a move he said helps in fast maturity of players and he insisted that even if the boys could fail to win the championship, they can occupy top six position.
Commenting on the forthcoming 2019 AYC to be hosted in the country for the first time, Poulsen said it is better for preparations to begin early so as to avoid being stripped off hosting rights like what happened in Kenya.
“Government and TFF should closely work together in such that when CAF representatives come for inspection, they should find everything in its right place,” he said.
On the field preparations, he insisted that it will be better to play as many friendly games as possible to give the team winning mentality prior to the competition itself.