16 December 2012

Tanzania: Samatta, Ulimwengu Jet in Dar es Salaam

MBWANA Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu jet in Dar es Salaam to join the rest in the national team Taifa Stars squad ahead of an international friendly clash against African Champions Zambia's Chipolopolo at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Information Officer, Boniface Wambura said that the duo arrived in the city on Friday and were set to start training on Saturday evening. The two strikers failed to join the Mainland side Kilimanjaro Stars in Kampala, Uganda for the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup tournament after they were denied permission by their Congolese club TP Mazembe.

Their presence will definitely lift morale of the rest in the team. They will add to the depth of the team and provide selection headache for Dane Coach, Kim Poulsen.

John Bocco and Mrisho Ngassa were at their best for Poulsen side, scoring five goals each in Kampala but the arrival of Samatta and Ulimwengu will provide them with a stiff competition to be included in the starting lineup.

Football Association of Zambian (FAZ) have lined up the match to gauge the team's readiness before launching the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title defence in South Africa next year as well as provide the Tanzanian outfit a strength-testing platform.

Zambia coach, Herve Renard, has named a full strength side for the friendly, which include skipper Christopher Katongo and the legion of DR Congo's TP Mazembe stars including defender Stopilla Sunzu and striker, Given Singuluma. Playmaker, Rainford Kalaba is also back in the squad after recovering from a groin injury that saw him miss Zambia's final AFCON qualifier against Uganda and the Mandela Challenge.

Meanwhile, Zambia skipper, Christopher Katongo says he greatly treasures the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) gold medal, an accolade which some top African football stars like Didier Drogba can only buy from shops. Katongo said he worked hard with the Chipolopolo to earn an AFCON gold medal this year and that it was something which keeps bringing smiles to his face.

In an interview with pay-television SuperSport which was aired during Thursday's Soccer Africa programme, Katongo said the likes of Drogba, the Ivory Coast skipper, had played football at the highest level in the world but still failed to win an AFCON gold.

"To have an AFCON medal is not easy. The likes of Drogba have played at the highest level of football. They have been fighting to have this medal but to no avail. They need this medal (AFCON gold) and can go to shops to buy it. But as for me, no one can get it (medal) from me," he said.

On his seclusion from the top three for the coveted 2012 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player-of-the-Year award, Katongo said despite his hard work for the nation, it was something that could not be changed now.

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