THE Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Technical Director, Salum Madadi admitted yesterday that he hardly followed Mainland side, Kilimanjaro Stars' proceedings at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Machakos, Kenya.
His utterance comes while football fans in the country are still struggling to stomach the team's worst performance at the ongoing regional annual championship. Erratic performance by the team was a huge concern among football fans, who watched as their team crashed out of Group A embarrassingly, collecting only a point from four matches.
Stars shipped in five goals, while scoring only two. Stars suffered three defeats - losing 2-1 to Zanzibar Heroes and Rwanda's Amavubi respectively and also lost 1-0 to Kenya's Harambee Stars. They only managed a barren draw against guest side Libya in their opening match.
Asked about the team's dismal performance in the campaign, Madadi said; "I can not comment anything at the moment because I did not make close follow up of the team's proceedings in Kenya. "Apparently, I was pre-occupied with burial arrangements of the late Taifa Stars coach, Joel Bendera. I will be in a position to comment after receiving a report from Head Coach, Ammy Ninje," he said.
Madadi also refused to comment anything regarding the credentials of coach Ninje, after several football fans questioned criteria used to select him to be in charge of the Kilimanjaro Stars squad.
Former Taifa Stars and Kilimanjaro Stars coach, Prof Mshindo Msola, pointed an accusing finger at TFF, for what he said failure to heed to a number of technical advices provided to them "Personally, I advised TFF to consider dropping tired legs and usual faces in the team.
I told them to select players from Under -20's Ngorongoro Heroes and the Under-17's Serengeti Boys to give the young players experience and provide a possibility for the senior team, Taifa Stars coach to pick players.
Msola refused to directly apportion blame to coach Ninje, saying "Yes! Ninje could be lacking necessary experience and hardly knew local players but still, he could have been assisted by a strong technical staff to pick fresh legs."
On Monday, Stars skipper, Himid Mao was quick to apologise to the football fraternity in the country as his side suffered a 1-0 defeat from Kenya at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Speaking in a post-match interview, Mao said it was sad that they only managed to get a single point from four matches they played during the competition. "On behalf of my fellow players, let me apologise to all Tanzanians because this is not the results they expected.
In general, the competition was good and tough but embarrassment is what we have achieved. "We will improve on our weaknesses so as to do well next time," said Mao, who scored the leading goal for Stars in the 2-1 defeat against Zanzibar in their second match of the campaign.
In his remarks, Ninje hailed the performance shown by his charges even though he conceded that much work still needs to be done in the team so as to make it competitive enough.
"We still have to do a lot of things to improve the team especially through bringing in new blood," said Ninje, who took charge of the Mainland's team for the first time. Asked whether the poor results could make him abandon his coaching career, Ninje said he is a sportsman and cannot stop coaching since it is his passion.
"I have enough qualifications, which can land me a job anywhere in this world," he said confidently. Kilimanjaro Stars returned home heads down yesterday.