Stars focused on Scorpions
Friday, June 08, 2012
The senior national soccer team, Taifa Stars, returned back in the country from Abidjan, Ivory Coast and headed to camp straightaway to carry on their preparations for the next Sunday’s 2014 World Cup Group C’s qualifier against Gambia.
Stars got their Brazil World Cup qualifying campaign on a wrong note after conceding a 2-0 defeat away to Group C favourites, Ivory Coast, in the match played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
The plane carrying 23 members of the national team, led by head coach Kim Poulsen, team officials and the media, landed down at Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport at 7:30 hours in the morning from Nairobi where the team connected the flight.
At the airport, the team was received by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) General Secretary, Angetile Osiah and other officials of the federation as well as a handful of soccer fans. Speaking shortly after the team’s arrival, Poulsen said after slipping to defeat in their opening match, the Stars were solely focused on their next game against Gambia as they seek to bounce back and keep their qualification hopes alive.
“The result was not good but the boys played really well and I am very optimistic about the coming game against Gambia,” he said in quotes reported by the Tanzanian Daily News. The Dane said they prolonged their stay in Abidjan so that they could train for the coming home game against The Scorpions.
Kim, who took over from his Danish namesake, Jan Poulsen, expressed belief that Stars will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. He said: “Our performance was very good, but Ivory Coast have got a lot of experience in their squad, so they’re superior to us, but we’re going to make sure we raise up our game whenever we get into the pitch.”
Taifa Stars skipper and first-choice goalkeeper, Juma Kaseja, said the match against Ivory Coast was tough but Stars players gave their all despite going down to Solomon Kalou and Didier Drogba’s goals.The ever-green eagle eyed custodian remained positive about Stars chances of overcoming Gambia when the two teams face off at the National Stadium this weekend.
Gambia forced a 1-1 draw with Morocco in another group C match played at the former’s backyard in Banjul last Saturday. The results means Cote d’ Ivoire are at the top of the group standing with three points and two goals, while Gambia and Morocco are jointly placed second following that draw.
Taifa Stars are languishing at the bottom after conceding the defeat. Stars missed the services of four key players in the opening match against The Elephants. The quartet includes striker Thomas Ulimwengu, midfielders Nurdin Bakari and Haruna Moshi and defender, Nassoro Masoud ‘Cholo’ who pulled out of the initial squad with injuries.
Poulsen was dealt with another huge blow after dependable centre back, Aggrey Morris, was given marching orders during the match against Ivory Coast for a second bookable offence, which rules him out of Sunday’s fixture.
Author: Baboucarr Camara