Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Stars Coach Wants Friendly Matches

TAIFA Stars' head coach, Kim Poulsen, has urged the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to organize plenty of international friendly matches for the side in a bid to help it stay in great shape ahead of forthcoming 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.

Stars were knocked out of the second round of the 2013 African Nations Cup (AFCON) Qualifiers by Mozambique via penalty shoot out in the return leg game played at the Estadio Zimpeto in Mozambique last Sunday.

The two sides had drawn 1-1 after regular 90 minutes of the Sunday game to bring the score line to 2-2 after the two legs and the winner, therefore, had to be decided by penalty shoot out, in which the hosts won 7-6 to progress to the third and final round of the qualifiers.

The first leg match, played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on February 29, this year, ended in a 1-1 draw, with both goals having been scored in the first half. Stars arrived in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday night from Maputo and will now have to focus on its forthcoming matches in the group C of the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, African Zone.

Kim said his squad has a lot of young players who need more international friendly matches to garner the much needed experience, which could prove useful in the World Cup Qualifiers. "This squad has so many young players and they need to get experience, so, it is better we get many international friendly matches so that we could prepare well for our next assignments," he said.

He exuded confidence on his squad's ability to flourish at the international stage, saying he has seen his players work harder lately. When he was with the squad in Maputo, Kim advised his players to work hard in their respective clubs so that they could win more opportunity for first team action, which could, in turn, bolster their performance at the national team.

And, after jetting in Dar es Salaam, Kim showered praises to his squad, saying it fought up to the last minute of the duel despite having been knocked out of the qualifiers. Stars fell back to the hosts' opener scored by striker, Jerry Sitoe, but fought back gallantly and managed to equalize through a header by hard working centre back, Aggrey Morris, during the closing stages of the game.

"The boys played well and we have seen huge improvement compared to a few matches we have already played since we announced this new squad," said Kim. Stars' camp has now been officially dissolved and the players are expected back at the camp in August, this year, in which they will prepare for an international friendly match that will be arranged by TFF.

The team's next assignment in the group C of the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, African Zone, will be against continental powerhouse, Morocco, on March 22, next year, at a venue that has yet to be announced by the World soccer governing body, FIFA. Taifa Stars is currently sponsored by the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) through its brand, Kilimanjaro Premium Lager.

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