15 October 2018

Tanzania: Stars Billed to Turn Tables

ESTEEMED sports fans in the country have expressed their belief that Taifa Stars would win the reverse match against Cape Verde tomorrow at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

The country's senior football team face a must win task to revive hopes of playing in the finals of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be played in Cameroon after a 3-0 loss to Cape Verde on Friday night.

Stars returned home on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the camp ahead of tomorrow's vital encounter and the second home match of the campaign. Their first home encounter against Lesotho in June last year ended in a 1-1 draw.

According to the latest standings of group L, the race to Cameroon is still wide open to all four teams even after Uganda Cranes claimed a three-point lead over their closest challengers, Cape Verde.

The Cranes' 3-0 whitewash of Lesotho on Saturday ended Cape Verde's overnight lead as the East African neighbours bagged seven points against four garnered by Cape Verde who are now placed second. Lesotho and Tanzania both with two points to occupy third and fourth slots respectively.

The final results in Cape Verde opened up waves of discussion by sport pundits countrywide whereby some of them pointed blaming finger towards the team's head coach Emmanuel Amunike claiming he allegedly left on the bench some key players who could have done a better job for the team.

Others went even further to blame players for laxity and inability to adjust themselves to the type of football displayed by their opponents.

Speaking in separate interviews with the 'Daily News' on the way forward, most of them suggested a starring list should be carefully scrutinized before the tomorrow home match.

"I do not understand why Kelvin Yondani was not used during the match despite clear indications that our defence was porous. At the moment, Yondani is one of the best defenders in the Tanzania Premier League and he could have easily fit in the game," said Fabian Juma, a resident of Dar es Salaam.

His sentiments were encored by Zena Liwembe who also insisted that Stars had issues at the back. "Look at all the three goals we conceded, you cannot refrain from accusing defenders on the way they performed their duties. Cooperation was not there, but we can improve on that," she said.

On his part, Peter Lameck said Taifa Stars would post tangible results tomorrow no matter the circumstances.

"I believe that the technical bench saw the strengths and weaknesses of Cape Verde and will use them for our advantage. The most important thing is to storm the venue in big numbers to back up the team from the beginning to the end," he said.

After tomorrow's encounter, Taifa Stars will visit Lesotho on November 16th this year before wrapping up their campaign by entertaining Uganda at the National Stadium on March 22 next year.

However, the exciting outcome as far as the group ratings are concerned is seen in group K whereby the four competing teams which are Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia have all pocketed four points from three outings as they each have lost one, drew one and won one match respectively.

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