Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

21 March 2013

Tanzania: Poulsen - Stars Ready for Morocco

THE national soccer team Taifa Stars head coach Kim Poulsen has warned Morocco that they are perfectly prepared ahead of their Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier against the Atlas Lions.

The Taifa Stars host Morocco this Sunday at the National Stadium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifier, a Group C clash that could go a long way to deciding whether the team progress any further in the competition Poulsen, who scouted Morocco and Cote d'Ivoire during the African Nations Cup finals staged in South Africa in January through February, apparently suggested they are not feeling the added weight of expectation and remained optimistic over their chances.

After a recent run of good form in international friendly matches, which included 1-0 triumphs against both Zambia and Cameroon, the Stars are expected to prove too strong on their home turf and Poulsen backed the assertion by promising that they will fight hard to gain victory.

Poulsen was speaking during a special dinner organised for the Taifa Stars squad and members of the technical bench by Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), who are main sponsor of the team, through its Kilimanjaro Premium Lager brand. Tanzania has never beaten Morocco in all international matches the teams played against each other.

Twice Morocco inflicted defeats to Tanzania during the Africa Nations Cup qualifier series in 2010 when the Stars were under Kim's predecessor, Jan Poulsen. However, Poulsen is convinced that the Stars have prepared well and capable of overcoming the hoodoo this time around and bolster their World Cup qualification bid.

Poulsen was grateful to sponsors TBL's support, which he said, has made their preparations possible and ideal. He was appreciative that the players are paid salaries in time and that the sponsors have always been close to the team. Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand Manager, George Kavishe commended Poulsen for a good job and said as sponsors they were pleased with Taifa Stars' results so far, adding the team's progress has been satisfactory.

Kavishe insisted that Tanzania outfit is now marketable following a string of impressive performances that have won back the faith of its supporters. He challenged the players to fight for their country on Sunday. "Most Tanzanians have fallen back in love with this team; therefore you should not let them down."

Kavishe reminded the Stars players that Sunday's game is crucial in their bid to reach the next round of the World Cup qualifiers. He charged it is important that they win the game to keep themselves in good position and used the occasion to urge local fans to turn up in big number at the National Stadium to cheer up their team to victory.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan side are expected to jet in tomorrow ready for Sunday's game, according to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF). The Stars are currently placed second in Group C of the World Cup qualifiers with three points from two matches.

They are one point adrift of group leaders Cote d'Ivoire, with their next opponents Morocco occupying third with two points, one ahead of bottom-placed Gambia. The two teams will lock horns again on June 7 in Casablanca for the return leg. The Stars will also face Cote d'Ivoire on June 14 at home before facing Gambia on September 6 in Banjul.

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