14 November 2012

Tanzania/Kenya: Stars Face 'Diluted' Harambee

THE national soccer team, Taifa Stars head coach Kim Poulsen is expected to go ahead with a young and experimental squad when they clash against Kenya's Harambee Stars in an international friendly match at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza this afternoon.

Both sides are expected to take the match seriously as it falls under the FIFA match-day calendar, thus, guaranteeing the two teams chance to improve when the next world football rankings is released next month.

The game will provide Taifa Stars Danish coach Kim Poulsen an opportunity to test his players ahead of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup set to kick off on November 24, this year in Uganda, where he will take charge of the Mainland's soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars.

The Dane is expected to name Kilimanjaro Stars squad after today's game. And, with an eye on the forthcoming CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Poulsen will apparently look at young talents like Frank Domayo, Simon Msuva, Salum Abubakari, Christopher Edward and Ramadhani Singano as he seeks to test youngsters' readiness to compete at the highest level.

After the disappointment of missing out on the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in South Africa, Poulsen would definitely relish the opportunity to bring in new faces who can be future national team stars.

TP Mazembe's duo Samatta Mbwana and Thomas Ulimwengu are expected to spearhead the Taifa Stars attacks alongside Azam's towering striker John Bocco.

Juma Kaseja is expected to stand between the posts ahead of Deogratius Munishi 'Dida', with Kelvin Yondani, Aggrey Morris, Shomari Kapombe and Amir Maftah most likely to start in defence. It would be interesting to see how Poulsen's midfield lines-up today with Shaaban Nditi, Athumani Idd, Abubakar, Amri Kiemba, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Frank Domayo all vying for the starting berth.

Harambee Stars Coach Henri Michel will miss the services of in-form Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama and goalkeeper Arnold Origi. The duo were initially expected to honour the fixture but pulled out for various reasons.

Wanyama, who scored a wonderful header in Celtic's 2-1 win over Spanish giants Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League last week, could not make it for the match as he has been unwell since playing that crucial role for the Scottish side and has been replaced by Gor Mahia midfielder Antony Akumu who has been in superb form this season.

Origi will be busy in the league playoffs after his team UllKisa lost 2-1 to Bryne on Sunday evening and his place has been taken by Ulinzi stars short stopper Jactone Odhiambo. Meanwhile, national soccer team sponsors, Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, have called on the Taifa Stars players to observe discipline and work hard to ensure they win today's friendly against the Harambee Stars.

Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand Manager, George Kavishe, issued a statement on the eve of the Taifa Stars-Harambee Stars game, saying they believe in Taifa Stars and coach Poulsen.

"Ever since we took over as Taifa Stars sponsors, the performance has been inspiring and the standard of the team keeps improving day after day...we're therefore looking forward to beat Harambee Stars on Wednesday," said Kavishe.

He reminded the players to put on hard work and essentially maintain their discipline off and on the pitch. He said: "The current coach (Kim Poulsen) insists on players' discipline and this is of paramount importance wherever you go around the world. "You can be good player (on the pitch) but if you're not disciplined it is very obvious that the coach would leave you out of his team and give chance to disciplined ones."

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