Kampala — TANZANIA Mainland soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars head coach, Kim Poulsen, has exuded confidence in his side as the team prepares to open its campaign in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup by clashing with Sudan in Kampala on Sunday.
But the team will have to do without its two promising strikers, Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu, who have yet to return to the squad after heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to play for their club, TP Mazembe, in the team's remaining league matches.
Poulsen said he was hardly troubled by the absence of the duo because he has prepared his side well and will use the players available in the squad. "Samatta and Ulimwengu might not play in today's match because they have not arrived here but I have prepared my squad well and I have faith in the available players," he said.
"I hope TFF (Tanzania Football Federation) is taking care of this issue and the players will join their team mates soon, but this does not prevent us from performing well because we have prepared well," said Poulsen shortly after the squad's training yesterday morning.
Kilimanjaro Stars trained at a venue located at the Makerere University, Business School (MUBS) in Nakawa. Poulsen also said the void left by the departure of other key players, defenders Aggrey Morris, Nassor Masoud and goalkeeper, Mwadini Ali, will not have any negative effect on Kilimanjaro Stars' performance and will, instead, be a challenge to the team.
Morris, Masoud and Ali will feature for Zanzibar's team, Zanzibar Heroes, in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. "This team, which is sponsored by Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, currently has a lot of young players, so, this is the exact time to test their potential considering that they are participating in a major tournament," said Poulsen.
He said all players were in great shape and in high spirit, ready to grab a win in their opening match against Sudan in group B. The group also has Burundi and Somalia, which will also clash today. In some of the yesterday's opening matches, Ethiopia edged South Sudan 1-0 in a tightly contested duel at Namboole Stadium, with striker Getaneh Kebede, scoring the all important goal for the Ethiopia.
The other group A's duel, scheduled to take place at the same venue, was expected to see archrivals, Uganda and Kenya, lock horns in what was billed to be an action packed encounter. Group C comprises Zanzibar Heroes, Eritrea, Rwanda and Malawi and the group's opening matches pitted Eritrea against Zanzibar Heroes while Malawi, the tournament's guest side, was to face Rwanda.