31 January 2013

Tanzania: Eto'o to Test Taifa Stars

THE Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has confirmed the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, will play against Samuel Etoo's Cameroon in an international friendly match, with the federation turning down offers for build-ups from four other countries.

The mouth-watering clash will take place at the 60,000-seater National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday next week, which is FIFA's date for international friendly matches.

TFF spokesperson, Boniface Wambura confirmed on the Stars- Cameroon friendly on Wednesday, revealing that there were also requests for international friendly matches from Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda and Swaziland, but coach Kim Poulsen preferred to play the West African powerhouse.

"The Cameroon squad whose majority of players are playing professional football abroad, will start arriving on February 3 (Sunday)," said Wambura, adding that the match will kick off at 17:00hrs. The match is expected to attract a galaxy of stars including fourtime CAF player of the Year Samuel Eto'o as well as Barcelona's Alex Song, who have been drafted in the 21-man squad.

The former African champions will reportedly converge in Amsterdam before they come to Tanzania that has attracted high profile friendlies in recent years. The Indomitable Lions failed to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in a row after they were eliminated by Cape Verde who have reached the quarterfinals in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Stars' Danish tactician, Kim Poulsen, is today expected to announce his squad and progamme ahead of the encounter. For the Taifa Stars, the friendly will be part of their preparations ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Morocco in March.

Tanzania last faced the Cameroonian side in 2008 in the World Cup qualifier in Yaounde in which the Stars, then under Brazilian Marcio Maximo went down to a 2-1 defeat, with Samuel Eto'o notching a late winner for the hosts. The match comes a few weeks after the Stars, which is bankrolled by the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), under its Kilimanjaro Premium Lager brand, conceded a 2-1 defeat away to Ethiopia in an international friendly match.

The defeat to the Walya Antelopes came only days after Taifa Stars had upset former African champions Zambia 1-0 in a highprofile match played at the National Stadium. Poulsen remained upbeat despite the Addis Ababa loss and will be looking for positive result against the Indomitable Lions, which could boost the team's confidence ahead of the Morocco tie.

The fixture is also set to impact on the two sides' FIFA rankings due February 14. The Cameroon squad includes; Charles Itandje, Mayebi Joslain, Allan Nyom, Benedict Angbwa, Benoit Assou Ekotto, Henri Bedimo, Nicolas Nkoulou, Jean Armel Kana Biyick, Bouba Aminou, Joel Matip, Alexandre Song, Nguemo Landry, Pierre Wome Nlend, Herve Tchami, Fabrice Olinga Essono, Achille Emana, Eloundou Charles, Jean Makoun II, Samuel Eto'o Fils, Vincent Aboubakar, Jean Paul Yontcha.

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