The draw for the forthcoming AFCON qualifiers held in Cairo on Sunday pits Taifa Stars against Zimbabwe, with the Stars due to host the first round, first-leg match between May 16 and 18 this year.
According to the draw, the return-leg game will be held in Zimbabwe between May 30 and June 1, with the eventual winner facing the winner of the match between Mozambique and South Sudan. “We got Tanzania. We are happy but we mustn’t let complacency creep in.
They are coming up as a team,” Mussa was quoted as saying by The Herald of Zimbabwe. “But we need to start preparing now and carry on from where we left at the CHAN tournament blending the local players and the foreign based.
“It is up to the coach to choose the best team for the matches. God willing we will get the results.’’ Mussa said they might have played Tanzania last year in Dar es Salaam in a FIFA international friendly match but that could not be used as a yardstick to measure the kind of opposition they will face next month.
“Last year we played them but it was a friendly so attitudes of both teams would be different compared to the major tournament now. The preparedness, mood and momentum everything changes as all the teams want to qualify for the African Cup of Nations,” he said.
“We should leave no stone unturned in preparing for the African Cup of Nations and do the nation proud.” The manager said all the countries were waiting for the draw and crossed their fingers that they avoid the big names in football but warned that “there are no longer big teams or small teams in football.”
The Herald warned that the Taifa Stars are not pushovers and recalled Tanzania’s record against big teams recently. “They have posted some memorable results beating Burkina Faso twice in the African Nations Cup qualifiers. They also beat Cameroon 1-0 in a friendly match,” wrote The Herald.
“They also stunned Morocco 3-1 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Dar es Salaam last year,” the newspaper added. Taifa Stars’ last meeting against Zimbabwe, which was played in November last year, ended in a goalless draw.
The AFCON finals will take place in Morocco from January 17 to February 8, 2015 and the four groups will be based in Marrakech, Agadir, Rabat and Tangier. The six match days of the Group stage will take place between September 5 and November 19, this year.