TAIFA Stars players have vowed to play lungs out during the reverse Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Tunisia at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam tomorrow.
The country's envoys who arrived at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) yesterday, face a must win task to renew hopes of qualifying into the finals of the lucrative contest to be staged in Cameroon next year. A 1-0 loss in their first leg match at Stade Olympique de Rades in Tunisia on Friday was a wake-up call for Taifa Stars to know that all is not lost yet hence tomorrow's clash is an advantage to them to surprise their opponents.
Speaking shortly after landing, Simon Msuva said they know the importance of the return leg as such; they will thoroughly put themselves together to stamp the victory. "We want full support from our fans so that we can win this game to revamp our chances of reaching into the finals.
The first game in Tunis did not go according to plan because we played at away venue against a good team. "Usually, when you are playing away versus a good opponent, you spend more time defending and studying them that is what we did but we expect to have a different approach here at home," remarked Msuva who recently joined Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca.
He also disclosed that the absence of skipper Mbwana Samatta, who is still nursing injury, is a big blow to the team but insisted that other players are ready to represent him and guide the team to victory.
On his part, Star's Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije revealed that lack of confidence among his players contributed much to their away loss last week. "As the game progressed, the confidence of players was going up but with our next (tomorrow) game set at home, I believe that everything will be fine for the boys to do recommendable job," he said.
Moreover, the Burundian trainer narrated that the early goal they conceded on the day slightly pushed them out of play saying when playing against a big team, any mistake you make becomes advantage to them.
"We know that our players have fatigue after travelling for a long time but that should not be an excuse ahead of the upcoming game as we just need to make sure that we remain focused to accomplish our target of reaching at the AFCON finals," he said.
An outstanding performance from Star's goalkeeper Aishi Manula who made a number of daring saves during the Tunisia battle plus a classic defensive play from veteran defender Erasto Nyoni have been applauded heavily by sport commentators in the country via numerous media platforms.
According to the current group J standings, Tunisia lead the ladder with 9 points after winning all their three fixtures, seconded by Tanzania, Libya and Equatorial Guinea with each having 3 points hence they have equal chances of sailing deeper into the competition.