TAIFA Stars are ready to play their first match in the unfolding Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals as they face Zambia at Limbe Omnisport Stadium in Cameroon on Tuesday.
It will be Taifa Stars' opening game in their group D before Namibia facing Guinea at the same venue. However, Taifa Stars squad has been strengthened following the arrival of veteran defender Erasto Nyoni who has joined the team late after completing resolving family issues which prevented him to make a trip with his colleagues.
Again, the team's technical bench has been boosted with the arrival of Assistant Coach Selemani Matola who was compelled to take care of his club Simba throughout the just completed 2021 Mapinduzi Cup tournament in Zanzibar.
Giving an update of the status of the team prior to the big game, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communications Officer Clifford Ndimbo who accompanied the team to Cameroon disclosed that the game is set to begin at 7:00pm.
"Everything in the team is fine as players have morale ahead of their first tie," said Ndimbo. A win by the country's envoys will help to give them confidence to do well in their next matches in the group since the best two top teams in each category will earn a chance of reaching into the quarterfinals of the contest.
Recently, speaking via a telephone interview from Cameroon, Stars goalkeeper Juma Kaseja narrated that from the determination being shown by players, there is nothing to hold them back from winning their first match of the tournament.
"As the day to our first match approaches, the mentality of players is growing and are all eager to feel the glimpse of playing in such high profile football contest on the continent. "I believe that we are better poised to begin the competition positively by winning our encounter against Zambia which will help us a lot to boost our confidence prior to the follow up matches," he said.
He added that as one of the senior players in the squad he has urged the young players to feel proud of fighting for their country and take each game seriously bearing in mind that this is their moment to shine.
"The competition is here and they need to prove to people that they can do it and I strongly trust in them to do the recommendable job for our nation. "We just need to give them full backing and always aim to win the first game which will surely provide the way forward as far as the entire contest is concerned," said Kaseja.
He further narrated that the main task for them (senior players) is to provide guidance to the young ones and make them know the value of wearing national team jersey "Aside from working for the country, they are also building their football careers because it is their life. With this mixture of old and young players in the team, I strongly believe that the squad will perform well," narrated Juma