TAIFA Stars put in a scintillating performance to secure a momentous 1-0 win over former African champions, Cameroon's Indomitable Lions, in an international friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Striker Mbwana Samata scored the solitary goal on 89th minute to earn the Stars a memorable win that will surely lift Tanzania in the FIFA world football ranking, when the next release comes out Thursday next week.
Also, as Taifa Stars coach Kim Poulsen suggested prior to the game, the win would crucially serve as morale boost for his boys ahead of next month's World Cup qualifier against Morocco.
Samata was at the heart of the attacking trio, flanked by Mrisho Ngassa and Amri Kiemba and put in a promising first half performance but the Stars were lackadaisical up front in the opening half.
Cameroon were without skipper Samuel Eto'o and classy midfielder Alexander Song, who pulled out of the Indomitable Lions' squad due to injury. The fabulous striker, Eto'o, suffered back pain, while Barcelona's midfielder Song is reportedly struggling with a knee injury.
The duo's absence was felt as the Indomitable Lions hardly showed that they are still a force to reckon with in the continent. There were still few household names in the Cameroon line-up in Tottenham Hotspurs left-back Benoît Assou Ekotto and skipper Pierre Wome, who started in the midfield as the former was preferred in the left-back position.
The game got off slowly and there were few and far clear cut chances between the two sides in the opening minutes. The game gradually picked up and the Stars were not overawed as they asked questions of the Cameroon defence but the visitors were impregnable.
Aboubakar Vicent, who plays for French club Valenciennes in Ligue 1, threatened to open the scoring for Cameroon midway through the first half after West African giants had launched a counter attack, but the home defence stood firm.
Taifa Stars, then, wasted a glorious opportunity to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty on 26 minutes after Patrick Ngoula hand handed the ball inside the area.
Erasto Nyoni stepped up to take the penalty but his tame effort was saved by goalkeeper Effala Komguep, who produced another save to deny Amri Kiemba from the rebound. Juma Kaseja was rarely tested as Cameroon struggled to open up the Stars defence, marshalled well by Kelvin Yondani and Aggrey Morris and it ended goalless after the first 45 minutes.
Poulsen had challenged his players to show class, character and pride ahead of this friendly, and would definitely be impressed with their second half performance as they turned on a thrilling show of free flowing football. Poulsen deployed Thomas Ulimwengu, in the place of Mwinyi Kazimoto.
The muscular striker immediately was hustling Cameroon defence. Stars continued to attack and made several fruitless attempts while Cameroon stuck to their counter attacking approach and Kaseja was forced into good save by Ashu Clovis on 78th minute, the only time Cameroon went close in the second half.
Stars put more pressure on Cameroon and their effort paid off when Samata connected home a high ball delivered into the box by overlapping right full-back Erasto Nyoni. The goal capped a fine second half performance by the Taifa Stars.