THE national soccer team, Taifa Stars, head coach Kim Poulsen has revealed his delight at his side's impressive showing against Zambia as they downed the African kings 1-0 in an international friendly on Saturday.
The Taifa Stars pulled off what may go down as a famous result against the reigning African champions thanks to wing wizard Mrisho Ngassa, who scored the game's only goal on the stroke of halftime with a spectacular drive.
Ngassa banged in after outpacing defenders and unleashed a stunning drive outside the 18-yard box, which initially hit the top bar and sailed into the back of the net. It was a brilliant run, brilliant movement and brilliant goal.
"I'm happy with the win, it's a good result for us against the African Champions," joyous Poulsen told reporters at the end of the game staged at the 60,000-seater state-of-the-art National Stadium.
And the Dane reserved special praises for his players following this momentous win: "I'm happy with the way we played, the players were outstanding throughout It was not an easy win for Poulsen's side as Zambia hit the upright twice and came close a number of times and Poulsen acknowledged: "It was a fantastic game and tough as well."
Poulsen believes confidence was key to team's success against the star-studded Zambian side. "I told the players to believe in themselves, and they did. A good game and result to finish the year." After their match against Zambia, the Stars' players will have a two week break before they resume training on January 6 to 20 when the team is expected to play two more friendlies in preparation for the World Cup qualifier against Morocco.
Football Association of Zambian (FAZ) and Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) organized 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 game.
FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya said Zambia's 1-0 loss to Tanzania was a good but tough match which the Chipolopolo were unlucky not to score a goal. The FAZ chief said Tanzania were worthy winners as they grabbed what he called a well taken goal and were determined against an African champion squad.
"The match against Tanzania was a good practice match. It was tough encounter but in the end very good training game." He added: "I thought our boys did well for long moments and were just unlucky not to have a goal. Credit to Taifa Stars for their determination and well taken goal."
"Most importantly, the match provided Herve a good opportunity to see more boys in action before naming his 26 man squad for the Africa Cup finals," Kalusha said. Zambia won the African championship for the first time in history when Gabon and Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the tournament in January through February this year.
Chipolopolo will open their campaign to retain the Nations Cup title with a match against Ethiopia on 21st January before taking on Nigeria who return to the Afcon finals tournament after failing to qualify for the 2012 finals. They end the group campaign against Burkina Faso - all at Mbombela.