Gaborone — THE national senior soccer team 'Taifa Stars' face Botswana's Zebras in an international friendly match at Molepolole Sports Complex in Gaborone, this evening.
Stars arrived in Gaborone afternoon ready to honour the fixture to be played on FIFA date for international friendly matches. The results of the match should count significantly in the next release of the world's FIFA rankings. The match is also designed to prepare the team for the coming competitive assignments.
Stars camp was boosted by the arrival of three youth players Frank Domayo, Ramadhan Singano and Simon Msuva, who joined the rest in Dar es Salaam just few minutes before departure to Gaborone yesterday.
The trio was part of the national Under-20 soccer side 'Ngorongoro Heroes,' which travelled to Nigeria to play 'Flying Eagles' in the return leg match of the 2013 African Youth Championship (AYC) qualifier on Sunday. Ngorongoro Heroes lost 2-0 to Flying Eagles, who advanced to the third round of the qualifying tournament on a 4-1 aggregate having won the first leg 2-1 in Dar es Salaam two weeks ago.
Taifa Stars coach Kim Poulsen is widely expected to hand promising Young Africans striker Saidi Bahanunzi his first cap. The Dane tactician has assigned Bahanunzi to fill in the shoes of the missing ace striker playing for DRC's TP Mazembe, Mbwana Samatta.
Samatta alongside his colleague, Thomas Ulimwengu failed to honour the national team call after the DRC Congo side denied them permission. Taifa Stars will also miss the services of Azam's towering striker John Bocco, who is undergoing trials with a South African side Supersport.
Bocco has been among the most promising strikers in Tanzania football, he netted 18 goals to win Premier League Golden Boot award last season. "I believe Bahanunzi can fill in their gap and it is an ideal time for him to showcase his skills," Poulsen said after the team's training session at the Karume Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
Taifa Stars which is sponsored by the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) under its flagship Kilimanjaro Beer brand moved into residential camp a week ago ahead of their date with Botswana. Other players in Stars squad are Aggrey Morris, Amir Maftah, Athuman Idd, Erasto Nyoni, Haruna Moshi, Juma Kaseja, Kelvin Yondani, Mrisho Ngassa, Mwadini Ally, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Ramadhan Chombo, Salum Abubakar, Said Bahanunzi and Shabani Nditi.