Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

24 March 2011

Tanzania: Poulsen Eyes Home Triumph

National soccer team, Taifa Stars, head coach Jan Poulsen has promised to inspire his lads into an all out quest for crucial three points in the 2012 AFCON qualifier against visiting Central African Republic (CAR), to be played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

The Danish tactician said his squad needs to win the match so it can revive its chances to qualify for the next year's showdown that will be jointly hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

"The CAR lead the group (D of the qualifiers) because of good results they garnered in their first two matches we have to beat them if we are to stay in the race for the 2012 AFCON finals.

We know it will be difficult but we have no choice but win the match," said Poulsen. "We have had very good training sessions and we are looking forward to the match. I don't know the CAR but my players are well prepared for the game and will push the opponents all the way," he added.

Poulsen said despite missing the services of key Stars' three professional players Nizar Khalfan (Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada), Abdi Kassim and Daniel Mrwanda (DT Long An, Vietnam), who have failed to join the squad because of communication breakdown between Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and their respective clubs, he is ready to use the available squad to secure victory.

Stars are currently assured of having the three other professionals - Idrissa Rajab (Sofapaka, Kenya), Henry Joseph (Kongsvinger IL, Norway) and Mohamed Abdallah Machupa ( Vasalund IF, Sweden) for the match.

"I would have liked to have all six professionals for the match but I have got three so, I'm focusing on preparing the squad I have to face the CAR. We have to make use of the available squad to win the match," said Poulsen.

"We have a very good team and I believe we have chance to beat the CAR," he insisted. TFF secretary general Angetile Osiah said the federation used similar procedures in requesting for permission for all six professionals, but he was disappointed by the failure by Khalfan, Kassim and Mrwanda to join Stars.

"I'm, however, pleased that Poulsen is focusing on performing well in the match and he is ready to use the available squad. I urge Tanzanians to be patriotic and cheer Stars in the game despite the absence of the other three professionals," said Osiah.

Stars' skipper Shadrack Nsajigwa also oozed optimism on the side's ability to tame the CAR at the familiar National Stadium and urged domestic soccer fans to turn up in numbers to cheer their home team.

"We have prepared well for the match and we are determined to win it," said Nsajigwa. Speaking on the same occasion, the CAR head coach Accorsi Jules also admitted to have no knowledge of his opponents, but vowed to lead his team to a determined search for victory.

"We are prepared for any of the three results in a football match, winning, losing or forcing draw but, most importantly, we want to win the game. We didn't have any friendly match before the forthcoming assignment because of lack of funds but we will fight for the best results", said Jules.

He said securing a ticket to the next year's AFCON finals is his prime target and he is determined to guide the CAR to the showpiece, given that it will be the country's first time ever to participate in the event should it qualify.

Meanwhile, one of Stars' main sponsors, Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL), on Thursday presented a cheque worth 100m/- to the team to fund preparations for the ongoing 2012 AFCON qualifiers.

Premium Serengeti Lager brand manager Allan Chonjo handed the cheque to TFF secretary general Angetile Osiah at the federation's premises in the city and said his company is proud of its association with TFF in developing domestic soccer.

He urged fans to attend the Saturday match and cheer Stars. Osiah thanked SBL for the support and said TFF's duty was to ensure Stars dispatch the CAR, given that the home side has already received financial assistance.

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