THE national soccer team Taifa Stars has landed an international friendly match against Ethiopia away in Addis Ababa next Friday. A statement released by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer, Boniface Wambura, said that the match will be played at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa.
Taifa Stars coach, Kim Poulsen has summoned 22 players in the squad which will enter into a residential training camp tomorrow in preparation for the friendly. The friendly is part of the Taifa Stars trial games ahead of the World Cup qualifier match against Morocco in March 22.
But for Ethiopia, the game is their final trial before heading for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals set to start in South Africa on January 19.Ethiopia is in same group with the AFCON defending Champions, Zambia who played Taifa Stars last month and lost 0-1 to the local side.
In his squad, Kim has retained DR Congo based stars Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu.The two strikers were part of the team that was called by Kim for last month's friendly match against African Champions, Zambia 'Chipolopolo,' but went AWOL. They later reported late in the camp and were left out of the match because they were nursing injuries. Stars went ahead to win 1-0 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The duo also missed out of the Mainland's Kilimanjaro Stars team campaign in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala from November 24 to December 8, last year because they were denied permission by their Congolese club TP Mazembe. During the match against Zambia several soccer fans failed to hold their anger and insulted the two players, accusing them of putting their interest ahead of national team.
However, both, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and Kim quelled the situation and indicated that the striking duo will remain part of team for a long period despite the fact that the Danish coach has always insisted that he prefer players who feel proud to play for the national team.
Taifa Stars need to win their next encounter against Morocco for them to remain in contention for a place in the World cup to be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year. Taifa Stars lost 2-0 away to Cote d'Ivoire in their opening Group C match mid last year but managed to bounce back with a 2-1 win over Gambia at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to keep qualification hopes alive.
Momodou Ceesay gave Gambia the lead in the first half, but the hosts bounced back in the second half as goals from defenders Shomari Kapombe and Erasto Nyoni earned Poulsen his first win in charge of the Stars.Tanzania are second in the group on three points, while Gambia are at the bottom of the group. Ivory Coast are on top of the group with four points and Morocco are on third with two points. Ivory Coast and Morocco played out a 2-2 draw.
Stars players are Juma Kaseja (Simba), Aishi Manula, Mwadini Ally, Aggrey Morris (Azam), Amir Maftah (Simba), Erasto Nyoni (Azam), Issa Rashid (Mtibwa Sugar), Kelvin Yondani (Yanga), Nadir Haroub (Yanga), Shomari Kapombe (Simba), Salum Abubakar (Azam) and Athuman Idd (Yanga).
Others are Amri Kiemba (Simba), Khamis Mcha (Azam), Frank Domayo (Yanga), Mwinyi Kazimoto (Simba), Shabani Nditi (Mtibwa Sugar), John Bocco (Azam), Mrisho Ngasa (Simba), Simon Msuva (Yanga), Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu (TP Mazembe - DR Congo).