National Under-17 soccer team, Serengeti Boys base in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon has been shifted from Port Gentil and the team will now play its matches in capital Libreville.
Serengeti Boys will be making a debut appearance at the 12th edition of the finals from May 14 to 28 in Gabon.
The 'Serengeti Boys' replaced Congo after the latter was disqualified on technical reasons after failing to subject one of their players for an MRI test following a protest by the former.
According to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communication Officer, Alfred Lucas, all group B matches that were to be played in Port Gentil will shift to Libreville, while group A which comprise Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea and host Gabon, will shift to Port Gentil.
Group B teams are Serengeti Boys, Niger, Angola and Mali. Serengeti Boys will open their campaign against Mali on May 15. Mali were cleared to compete after their suspension was lifted by FIFA last Sunday. Currently, Serengeti Boys have set camp in Cameroon for their final tune up for the finals.
They will play their second friendly match against the host today after registering a 1-0 win in the first build up encounter on Sunday.
The team will fly out to Gabon next Sunday ready for their debut campaign at the continental showpiece. Serengeti Boys arrived in Yaounde on the back of 2-1 double wins against Morocco and ensured they did their confidence no harm with yet another morale- boosting win against Cameroon.
The Boys have played a total of six strength-testing games since launching official training camp in preparation for the upcoming AYC finals. They twice beat Burundi 3-0 and 2-0 on March 30 and April 1, in matches played at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba.
They played out a 2-2 draw against Ghana's Black Starlets on April 3 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The top four teams will qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Meanwhile, Star Media Tanzania has handed over 20m/- to support Serengeti Boys, at the joint event with TBC.
At the event StarTimes CEO Wang Xiaobo explained: "We are glad to support Serengeti Boys as well as government on its effort to develop sports.
We wish the team to keep on offering great moment and the players to keep representing this country well." He added that the future of football is based on solid youth teams and target should always be investing on youth because they are most valuable asset of the country toward promising future.
"Apart from this contribution, we will still continue supporting all sport and at the same time social and economy in order to assist government on its efforts to bring development to the community," he said.
On other hand, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sport, Harrison Mwakyembe thanked Star Media Tanzania for their support to the team and assured them that the government will continue to collaborate with them, to make sure that they achieve goals.