TAIFA Stars have intensified preparations ahead of their opening match of the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals against Zambia on Tuesday in Cameroon.
The country’s envoys arrived safely in Cameroon on Thursday afternoon full of hopes to excel in the competition and win the CHAN title for the first time.
Speaking via a telephone interview from Cameroon, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communications Officer Clifford Ndimbo said all the players who made the trip are in a good health ready for the tough mission.
“We arrived yesterday (Thursday) afternoon around 2:00pm and instantly, players were given resting period before the start of official training sessions here in Limbe where our group is based “Generally, the status of the squad is good and all the players who were named by the Head Coach are here, excluding Dickson Job, who is injured and Erasto Nyoni, who had family issues to take care of but he is expected to join his teammates this weekend,” Ndimbo said.
Commenting on the weather condition, Ndimbo narrated that it is not quite different with that of Dar es Salaam as such; we hope that it will not be very difficult for players to cope with it.
According to him, the game between Stars vs Zambia will be played from 5:00 pm on Tuesday if no adjustments to the existing fixtures will be made.
This happens to be the second time for Stars to compete in CHAN event since its inception in 2007 and they attract players featured in their domestic leagues hence giving them a good platform to be seen all over the world.
Before heading to the battlefield, Stars had a signal testing match against DR Congo at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam which ended 1-1 and it was a befitting match for the home side.
Only two top teams in each group will cruise into the quarterfinals of the contest and thereafter, four teams will be drawn to venture in the semifinals slot from where, the two best sides will parade into the finals.
Though no attack reported in Limbe, the venue of the group D, lack of security is still a big problem there.
Prior to the kick off, a Cameroon separatist movement warned CAF that the northwestern city of Limbe is a war zone and unfit for African Nations Championship matches.
Limbe will host group D matches involving Namibia, Zambia, Guinea and Tanzania.
“CAF shall be morally and legally be held liable for any loss of human life”, Ambazonia Governing Council foreign affairs secretary Larry Ayamba cautioned.
It is unclear if the threat is authentic as there was no immediate response from the tournament’s organisers.
“CAF is strongly advised to immediately terminate any plan to play any game in Victoria (Limbe), to host any team anywhere in the territory of Ambazonia, or to cause the gathering and movement of spectators for Cad games in Ambazonia for urgent safety and security reasons,” Ayamba stated.
People in Ambazonia, the English speaking part of the country, have often claimed they are being unfairly treated by Paul Biya’s French-centred government.
This resulted in militant secessionist groups symbolically proclaiming the independence of a new nation — including the two Anglophone regions — called Ambazonia, which lies between Nigeria to the west and Cameroon to the east.
At least five people died and five more were wounded on Wednesday after a roadside bomb exploded in Cameroon’s Northwest region.