Stars were to take on Lesotho in Gaborone on Saturday evening in their second build up match as they are plotting the downfall of the Mambas on July 20 in Dar es Salaam to put themselves in a better position ahead of the return leg encounter to be held in Maputo.
In their first friendly match against their Botswana counterparts, the Zebras held earlier this week, ‘Taifa Stars’ went down 2-4 and according to reports, Stars were poor in defence and players struggled to stay in power. Both teams used the match as part of their preparations for the AFCON qualifying matches which are scheduled for July 19 and 20 this year.
Tanzania will take on Mozambique ‘Mambas’ at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam while Botswana will battle it out with Guinea Bissau in search for a ticket to advance into the group stage of the tournament.
The return leg match against Mozambique will be played on the weekend of 1-3 August in Maputo. If Stars succeed to eliminate the Mambas will be advanced into the group stage where it will be pooled in group F with Zambia, Niger and Cape Verde Islands.
The top two countries in each group, plus the best third-placed finisher qualify for the finals along with the hosts Morocco. The group matches will be played 5-6 September and 10 September; 10-11 October and 15 October; 14-15 November and 19 November Stars cruised into the second round of AFCON qualifiers after eliminating Zimbabwe’s ‘Warriors’ from the event 3-2 on aggregate.
They won the first match held in Dar es Salaam 1-0, before earning a 2-2 draw in Harare. Lesotho will play against Kenya in the second round of the qualifiers to seek a ticket to the group stage.
The team is in Gaborone with 26 players. The squad in Botswana include upcoming goalkeeper Benedictor Tinoko and inexperienced outfield sextet of Joram Nason, Edward Charles, Pato Ngonyani, Kelvin Friday, Said Juma and Mwegane Yeya.
Regular players who have made the trip include goalkeepers Deogratias Munishi and Aishi Manula; defenders Kelvin Yondani, Said Moradi, Nadir Haroub, Shomari Kapombe, Oscar Joshua, Erasto Nyoni and Aggrey Morris.
Midfielders are Frank Domayo, Amri Kiemba, Jonas Mkude and Himid Mao while the attacking list includes John Bocco, Simon Msuva, Ramadhan Singano, Khamis Mcha, Haruna Chanongo and Mrisho Ngassa.