The Stars’ hard fought victory over Zimbabwe marked a promising start to the AFCON Morocco 2015 qualifiers and to great extent has kept alive their hopes of reaching the first ever continental finals since 1980.
The draw for the 2015 AFCON qualifiers has not been so kind for Taifa Stars as Tanzania’s road to the group stage looks potholed compared to other teams in the region.
Having successfully passed their first test against Zimbabwe, Mart Nooij’s side are set for yet another tough test with Mozambique’s team sitting on their way to the group phase.
Similar to the previous round tie, the Stars are scheduled to play the first leg at home between July 19 and 20 this year, with the return leg due in Mozambique two weeks later.
The winner over the two legs will qualify to play in the group stages. Mozambique unarguably present a banana-skin test for Mart Nooij and his team as the Mambas have proved themselves a hard nut to crack against Taifa Stars, with statistics showing that ‘the Mambas’ have been enjoying good results against the Stars.
The two teams met in the first round of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and Mozambique nudged through with a 2-1 win on aggregate.
The Stars were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg played in Dar es Salaam on February 29, 2012 and went on to lose 1-0 in the return game in Maputo.
The fighting spirit displayed by Taifa Stars in a 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe in the return leg in Harare last Sunday was testimony to the team’s maturity.
Nonetheless, there are some areas that Nooij and his technical bench must still work on to ensure they improve the Stars ahead of the second round tie with Mozambique.
They must prepare to win with big margin and not concede to give themselves a margin of comfort ahead of the return leg away in Maputo.
It’s our expectations that the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) will organise more experimental matches for the Stars between now and July.