NATIONAL Under-23 football team, Head Coach Bakari Shime said they are ready to face Burundi in today's Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The country's side has to win at all cost to turn over the 2-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg played in Burundi for them to go further into the competition whose finals would be played in Egypt in November next year.
Addressing members of the media yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Shime said he is aware that the match is going to be difficult but insisted that his charges have been perfectly coached to win the game.
"The good thing is that we have a couple of experienced players who are ready to fight for their country and ensure that they get nothing less than victory," he said. He added that they have sorted out weaknesses which emerged during their previous match as such; winning for them is their main objective.
Furthermore, Shime who took the country's U-17 Serengeti Boys to 2017 Africa Youth Championship (AYC) finals in Gabon, said his players have also been psychologically prepared so that they should approach the match with winning mentality while fully aware that they are at home hence no need to play with fear.
On his part, Burundi U-23 Head Coach Omari Ntakagero said their mission of coming here is to win as such they will play with both attacking and defensive mechanisms to achieve their target. "Every player in my squad is upbeat ahead of tomorrow's (today) encounter and will do everything possible to protect our 2-0 advantage for us to go into the next round of the tournament," he said.
As one way to ensure that many people attend the match, entry charges at the 60,000 capacity stadium have been put at 5000/- for VIP whereas other seats would be accessed at 1000/- only. Meanwhile, Namibia U-23 football team has withdrawn from competing in the unfolding tournament due to what has been reported as financial constraints.
Namibia pulled out of their scheduled meeting with neighbouring Angola over the next week because they were unable to afford the trip to Luanda. Namibia was due to play the first leg last Friday in Luanda and host the return game in Windhoek today.
However, with Namibia's pull out, it means Angola have a walkover into the next round of the qualifiers against South Africa, who competed at the men's tournament at the last Olympics in Brazil.
The tournament will see three top teams qualify to represent Africa in the 2020 Summer Olympics men's football competition in Japan.