8 January 2013

Tanzania: Simba Softens Stand On Stars Call

SIMBA coach, Patrick Liewig, is ready to release his players to join the national soccer team Taifa Stars, but will demand them to link up with the rest in the team in Oman immediately after Stars friendly match against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Friday.

His remarks come just a day after Simba Chairman Ismail Aden Rage said that they will not release their players to join Taifa Stars. Simba have at least six players in the Stars squad including skipper and first choice goalkeeper Juma Kaseja, Amir Maftah, Shomary Kapombe, Amri Kiemba, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Mrisho Ngasa.

Rage said that they would love to have all their players around for the coming trip to Oman for a series of friendly, as the team prepare for the next round of the Mainland Premier League and CAF Champions League. Yanga have also decided to keep hold of their players as they continue with their camp in Turkey.

Taifa Stars coach, Kim Poulsen summoned 22 players in the squad, which has started preparation for the friendly, as part of the Taifa Stars trial games ahead of the World Cup qualifier match against Morocco in March 22.

And as the tug-of- war continues, the Frenchman told the 'Daily News' on phone from Zanzibar yesterday that it was important for his players to honour the national team call, but he demanded for good arrangement of such camps and friendly matches in the future.

In fact, Liewig said, he would love to see the national team performing well in the 2014 World Cup campaigns because this will not only be an achievement and glory to the nation but to him and Simba players as well.

"It will be very good for me and Simba if the national team succeeds in the World Cup campaigns and I'll always be free to let Simba players travel with the national team to Ethiopia. They will only be required to make good arrangement with the federation officials to ensure that the players connect direct to Oman to re-join the team as early as possible."

"I know that the national team coach wants these players to accomplish his programmes, I also need them for the same reasons especially at this time when the team is taking part in Mapinduzi Cup and preparing for a trip to Oman where we'll play at least two friendly matches."

However, the Tanzania Information Officer, Boniface Wambura said already they have reached an agreement with both Simba and Yanga and their players will be joining Taifa Stars. Simba players were expected in camp yesterday ready for Addis Ababa trip.

In principle, Wambura said they have agreed to foot ticket cost for Simba players from Addis Ababa to Oman, where they will join their team after the match against Ethiopia.

"We are also making efforts to ensure Yanga players join the team in Addis Ababa from Turkey," Wambura said.The agreement will be good for Liewig who said "Our trip to Oman is very important because I believe it will be a solid base for training as we prepare for the CAF Champions League, we've set our selves a bar to reach at least quarter-finals of the Champions League this season," said Liewig, who has just replaced Serbian coach Milovan Cirkovic at the helm of the team's technical bench.

This will be part of his mission as he seeks to transform Simba to be among the powerhouses in the continent."We'll begin step by step and reaching at least a quarter-final stage of the Champions League is our priority this time. We also need to be aware that Simba is a Champions League material and winning the local league is a must so that we keep our Champions League dream work," he said.

The former manager of the Paris Saint German Academy is fully aware that he does not have enough time to fulfil his mission, but he insisted that he wants to give character to the players so that they could have self confidence. "The challenge is to begin the next round of the league strongly, win as many matches as possible and close six-point gap with leaders Yanga. This is not next to impossible. I'm quite sure that our opponents Yanga and Azam will drop points on the way to the end," he said.

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