TAIFA Stars head coach Salum Mayanga will today unveil his squad as he turns his focus to the forthcoming COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup slated for South Africa from June 25, this year.
Mayanga is expected to make a few changes to previous squad he summoned for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Lesotho played over the weekend at Azam Complex, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
After a slow start to their 2019 AFCON qualifying campaign, Mayanga’s charges will be looking at the Southern regional competition as an ideal platform to implement the much-needed workout ahead of their next continental assignments.
Mayanga might have remained upbeat after last Saturday’s dull stalemate with minnows Lesotho in their group L opening match but he knows his team must make considerable improvements to end the country’s long-wait for a place in Afcon finals.
But the tournament will serve as an immediate preparation ground for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers. The Stars have been drawn against Rwanda in the second round of the 2018 CHAN qualifiers for Central and East Zone.
The first leg is scheduled to be played on the weekend of July 14-16 in Dar es Salaam before return the leg in Kigali a week later.
According to the statement released by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) yesterday, the Stars will travel to South Africa on June 20 ready for the South African showpiece. Stars have been grouped in the same group as Angola, Mauritius and Malawi in the upcoming COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
Mayanga’s boys have been invited as guest team from outside COSAFA region and are placed in what seems a fair preliminary round Group A. Tanzania will be competing for the third time after 1997 and 2015, with Comoros Islands having declined to take part this year.
The Stars performed poorly last time out when they lost all their three group matches. They fell 1-0 to Swaziland in their opening game as well as 2-0 defeat against Madagascar that dashed their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
A 1-0 loss to Lesotho in the final group match meaning they packed their bags without a win and without scoring a single goal. The overall winner will clinch a quarter-final berth against defending champions, Bafana Bafana, who were seeded, based on their performance in the cup alongside Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia and Lesotho.
The fixture shows that Swaziland will face the winners of Group B, which is a hugely competitive pool that includes Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mozambique and Seychelles.
The other two quarterfinals will see Botswana take on Zambia in a titanic battle and 2015 winners Namibia play Lesotho in another COSAFA Castle Cup classic clash.