Dar es Salaam — An international friendly match between the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, and Jordan set for August 13 in Amman has been cancelled.
This means Taifa Stars will play only one high-profile friendly ahead of their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria at the National Stadium on September 2. The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) said yesterday that it called off the August 10 friendly following a request by Stars head coach Jan Poulsen.
"TFF has called off a friendly match between Taifa Stars and Jordan so as to give room for a Charity Shield game between Simba and Young Africans," a source within the federation told The Citizen.
Simba and Yanga, whose players constitute the bulk of the Poulsen's squad, will face off on August 13 at the National Stadium, the date Stars were to take on Jordan in Amman.When contacted for comment on the matter, Poulsen said Taifa Stars could not travel to Amman for the friendly without players from the so-called big guns.
"Players from Simba and Young Africans form the core of my squad, thus it could be difficult to travel to Jordan minus them," he said. Yanga's new signings Julius Mrope, Shaaban Kado, Geofrey Taita and Simba's first-choice goalie Juma Kaseja and Machaku are among the key players he could not afford to miss in the friendly.
"I am still optimistic our friendly against Palestine will enable my lads to acquire the skills they need to win our remaining two Afcon qualifiers," he said.Stars, gunning for their second appearance in the Nations Cup finals in over 30 years, will face Algeria on September 2 at the National Stadium before taking on Morocco on October 7 in Rabat.
This will be the second time Taifa Stars play Palestine in an international friendly. The teams met for the first time on February 9 at the National Stadium in a friendly the hosts won 1-0.
Stars were far from impressive in their last two games. They lost 2-0 to Mozambique in an international friendly before going down 2-1 to Central African Republic (CAR) in the Afcon qualifier in Bangui.