15 February 2013

Tanzania: Disbelief As Stars Slump in Rankings

TANZANIA has derisively suffered a slide in the latest FIFA World Football Rankings despite last week's high-profile win over former African champions Cameroon.

Taifa Stars edged out the Indomitable Lions 1-0 in an international friendly match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on February 6, courtesy of Mbwana Samata's 89th minute strike.

With the match falling on FIFA's date for international friendlies, and the former Africa champions ranked 57 places above Tanzania prior to the fixture, most observers had expected the latter to scale a few places up the ladder.

Ironically, the rankings released in Zurich Switzerland, shows that Taifa Stars have slipped three places to rest on 127th position in the world, while dropping from 36th to 37th on the continent despite their triumph over a considerably superior opponent.

But in what illustrates in consistence in the FIFA's ranking system, England, ranked in 6th place last month, climbed up two places following a 2-1 win over Brazil, who are stagnant in 18th spot. While the FIFA's notoriously complex rankings formula has often drawn criticism, the latest release further vindicates the notion shared by quite a few football pundits that the rankings are illogical and unfair.

Elsewhere, Nigeria leapt 22 places up the rankings following their win at the Africa Cup of Nations but the continent remained without a team in the top ten. The Super Eagles, who edged Burkina Faso 1-0 in Sunday's final in South Africa to win the competition for the first time in 19 years, rose to 30th place in the table, their best position for three years.

Their opponents, who exceeded expectations by reaching the final, stayed outside the top 50 but have jumped 37 places to 55th. Meanwhile, the much awaited bus for the national soccer team Taifa Stars will be handed over to the team by sponsors Kilimanjaro Premium Lager next week.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam, the Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand Manager, George Kavishe, said among their objectives when they took over sponsorship of the national team was to raise its status. "When we took over, among the objectives we set for ourselves was to raise the status of the team and one of the things we promised was purchasing a brand new bus," said Kavishe.

He said the bus, which is of Yutong make worth over 200m/-, is modern, spacious and can carry 50 passengers plus the driver and that the seats have a big leg room even when they are slanted, hence ensuring players' comfort when they are travelling.

"This is an athletic coach and has been designed to ferry footballers and their equipment as it can carry a load of up to three tonnes," he said. "Our players should be comfortable when travelling hence the reason for us as sponsors choosing to go for a modern athletic bus that has advanced," he said.

According to Kavishe the bus will be handed over to Taifa Stars on Thursday at TBL's headquarters in Ilala and that the handover ceremony will be attended by a number of football stakeholders and other invited guests.

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