ZANZIBAR Heroes head coach Salum Nassor has expressed disappointment over the lack of international exposure, saying it is a setback for his team, which played out to a barren draw with Eritrea in their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup opening match on Monday.
Zanzibar is not a member of the world football governing body, FIFA, and is therefore not eligible to enter either CAF or FIFA competitions and according to Nassor that is their main undoing.
He lamented that the team lacks a competitive edge over their opponents whilst they also lack consistency in both the playing unit and the coaching department. "For us, we do not have a permanent team of coaches who are contracted to run the team.
Coaches are just picked like two weeks to CECAFA, which is our biggest tournament and told to assemble a team for the tournament," he bewailed. "We do not participate in African Cup of Nations Qualifiers nor do even world cup qualifiers leave alone the CHAN tournament.
That is our main undoing since we cannot gather relevant experience as a team. We only depend on individual players who play outside Zanzibar to help us with their experience.
"If only we had consistency in the coaching and playing unit, I believe we would be one of the strongest teams in the region. Like for me, when this tournament ends, I will go back home and my job ends there.
Unless I win this tournament, then I will not have my job once I land back in Zanzibar," adds Coach Nassor. However, Nassor still holds belief they can qualify to the quarter finals despite being in a difficult group that also has Malawi and Rwanda.
"If we can only play with more dedication, then we can move on to the next stage. Like against Eritrea, we had two midfielders who were lazy and were not dedicated. We missed three or four clear chances which we should have buried. In the next match we ought to improve our finishing," he adds.
Eritrea coach Teklit Negash was a disappointed man seeing his team collect only a single point despite outplaying their opponents and creating tens of chances without one banging the net. Negash speaking after the match said that had they converted the chances they had, then they would have been in a good position to book a slot in the Quarters.
"We played very well, we passed the ball round quite beautifully but the problem came in the scoring. We never really had that edge to convert the chances we got and that was our main undoing," he was quoted as saying by michezoafrica.com.
"We have not prepared well for this tournament because in the last one year, we have not had any high profile international friendly match. This is our first international match and so I can not take a lot of credit away from the boys.
We played well and I believe we will be better in the second match. There was a little bit confusion as we played but we will improve," he adds. Zanzibar and Eritrea are joint second in group C with a single point, behind Rwanda who beat Malawi 2-0.