Tanzania: Stars Eye 'Desert Hawks' Scalp

NATIONAL team, Taifa Stars believes they have fully charged the battery to see off Sudan in today's African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers clash at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Taifa Stars will be battling to win at home to put themselves in a comfortable situation because victory by the home team will give them advantage ahead of the reverse tie to take place in Omdurman on October 20th this year.

Stars need nothing but aggregate win over Sudan to guarantee their second appearance in CHAN finals set for Cameroon in 2020.

The tournament is designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic league. The first leg of the final round of the Central-East Zone qualifiers against Sudan 'Desert Hawks' will kick off from 7pm with the lowest entry fee pegged at 2000/- per head.

Stars interim Head Coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, is eager to emulate what former Stars coach Brazilian Marcio Maximo did in 2009, when he guided Tanzania into the first edition of CHAN finals, which was staged in Ivory Coast.

Ndayiragije is eyeing yet another giant feat against the Desert Hawks, with a result that will convince his employers to consider making his appointment permanent. He said that he respects Sudan, saying they play good football like Stars.

He expects a tough battle but said they are ready to clear the hurdle. "Sudan plays positive football like we do. It will be a good game and it is my duty to make sure that Tanzania qualifies for the second time," he said.

The Burundian tactician called on fans to flock the venue today to rally behind the team. Lately, Stars have been posting tangible results when playing at their fully packed backyard hence the coach is demanding similar atmosphere.

Speaking on the team's technical aspect, Taifa Stars Assistant Coach Seleman Matola said all within the squad is perfect, just waiting for the ball to start rolling.

"We have had success in training such that every player is in good form ahead of the important match. We know that it will not be that easy against Sudan but we are upbeat to sweep them away," Matola said.

He also called on supporters to come in big numbers, saying that is another part which plays a vital role towards the triumph of the team.

Again, making big fans turn out plea today was the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) General Secretary Wilfred Kidao, who insisted that it is a welcoming gesture for supporters to arrive early before the start of the game.

"Players feel excited when they see that the stadium is full by the time they come out to do pre-match warm-ups. It makes them prepare well about the oncoming battle," he said.

Moreover, Kidao expressed his hope that no matter what happens; Stars are going to stand tall in today's mouthwatering match to continue their perfect run in CHAN.

On his part experienced goalkeeper, Juma Kaseja, who is also eager to make it into the finals of the tournament said the game is going to be tough but they are ready to fight and post positive results.

"Although I have played several times for the national team, I was not lucky to be among the players, who were picked in the squad that competed in 2009 CHAN finals and the recent 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt and this is motivating me to see that we make into the next year's CHAN finals," he disclosed.

Stars saw off neighbours Kenya 4-1 on penalties after a barren draw in the two legged first round.

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