19 April 2019

Tanzania: Mirambo Says, Boys Are Still in Contention

opinion

SERENGETI Boys Head Coach Oscar Mirambo believes that his side is still in the contention despite suffering a second consecutive defeat in the ongoing 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Dar es Salaam.

His sentiments came following the team's 3-0 loss to Uganda Cubs at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, which rendered the home team without a point from their two clashes and slowly losing sight of clinching the prestigious youth title.

Goals from Kawooya Andrew, Asaba Ivan who was named Total Man of the Match and Najib Yiga were enough for the Cubs to silence the hosts. Serengeti Boys fought bravely in their opening match against favorites Nigeria which saw them coming from 3-1 defeat to lead 4-3 at some point of the match in the second half but consequently lost the game 5-4 after the end of normal period of play.

The performance in their first match made many people believe that the match against Uganda will end in the country's side favour but that was not the case on the day. However, at a post-match briefing, Mirambo said they ought to win their last tie against Angola and after that, there are some calculations which will be made to see which team cruises to the semifinals.

"We are not yet out of the tournament because our survival will depend on the results versus Angola. If we win and Nigeria wins, all of us ( Serengeti Boys, Angola and Uganda) will have three points such that calculations will be made to find the next team to go through to the last four," the coach said. Furthermore, Mirambo said the tactical system Uganda used against them was not the same when they played against Nigeria something he said affected his team.

"We thoroughly scrutinised the way they played against Nigeria and worked on the shortfalls they displayed but today (Wednesday), they came up with another system which made it difficult for our boys to cope," he said. He added: "As you saw, we tried to make changes in the weak sectors of the team like goalkeeping and defence but still found it hard to make the best of that.

I must admit that as the technical bench, we still have a big work to do in order to nurture well these boys." Asked if his resignation at this point is the right decision to console millions of Tanzanians who have been disappointed with the bad results, Mirambo replied that resigning or not at this juncture is not an issue because problems should be tackled and not run away from them.

"Here, we need to concentrate on the next fixture and not the issue of resigning because we have much work to do for the benefit of youth football development in the nation," he said. Serengeti Boys will wind up their group A campaign by hosting Angola at the National Stadium tomorrow whereas group leaders Nigeria will face debutants Uganda on the same day at Azam Complex to officially mark the end of the tournament's group stages.

Although Nigeria tops Group A with six points from two matches, but must avoid a defeat by three goals margin when they face Uganda because both sides have plus two goals difference. Third placed Angola is also still in the race in spite of the defeat they suffered in the hands of the Golden Eaglets.

They can stand still pick a semi-final place with a victory by at least three goals margin, depending on what happens between Nigeria and Uganda.

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