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Nooij to steer Stars to victory

The Stars welcome Mozambique’s ‘Mambas’ for their second round, first leg home qualifier to be staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on July 20. Briefing journalists at the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) headquarters on Tuesday, Nooij said that after two-week training in Botswana the team will today pitch camp in Tukuyu, Mbeya region, for further training.

“Tomorrow we will move to Tukuyu where we will train for the coming game. We’ll stay there to Thursday next week, preparing for the match against Mambas … everything is in order,” the Dutch tactician said.

He noted that camping in Tukuyu is one of the strategies for the AFCON qualifier. Commenting on a 4-2 defeat to hosts Botswana earlier last week in a build-up match, Nooij said that their loss was not bad and it will help them to get better.

“Did you see Wimbledon? That’s a tennis tournament in England. People like Raphael Nadal know that sometimes you can lose a game. So our defeat was not bad because loss helps you to learn from your faults and get better,” he said.

Taifa Stars captain, Nadir Haroub, admitted that Mozambique have always been a very complicated team which they have met several times and they have been defeated in a lot of games.

“But I promise Tanzanians, we will correct our mistakes in the coming match as we consider it as being very crucial,” he said. “It is a very tough game ahead of us but we have prepared ourselves well to win and I urge Tanzanians to support us,” he added.

Commenting on the matches they played in Botswana, Haroub said they have learnt a lot and the experience gained will help them in their coming encounter against Mozambique.

“We have played very well despite the defeat. I admit that we conceded the goals through carelessness and lack of concentration,” he said.

Taifa Stars goalkeeper, Deogratius Munishi, said that the team always considers any mistake that occurs onto the pitch as a serious one and they occasionally sit down to discuss whatever happens on the ground.

“For example, defenders’ mistakes are always discussed by the team and we settle things for the betterment of our team. I even make mistakes some times and my mates tell me where I’ve gone wrong,” he added.

For his part, assistant head coach, Salum Mayanga, said that they are now fit after taking physical exercises onto the pitch and in a gym in Botswana. Before facing Mozambique, Taifa Stars bundled out Zimbabwe’s Warriors on 3-2 goal aggregate.

They won the first match held in Dar es Salaam 1-0, before earning a 2-2 draw in Harare. The first leg matches of the final round of elimination matches will be played over the weekend of July 18 through 20 with return matches scheduled for August 1-3.

Aggregate winners enter the final phase of qualifying and will occupy places across the seven groups. The group matches get underway on September 5 and 6.

The winner between Tanzania and Mozambique over both legs will face Zambia in their Group F opener on September 6. Cape Verde and Niger are the other teams in the group.

The top two countries in each group, plus the best third-placed finisher qualify for the finals along with the hosts Morocco.




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