THE Taifa Stars leave today for South Africa ahead of Cosafa Cup kick off this weekend. Stars go to the tournament full house after the arrival of the Qatar-based striker, Elias Maguli, who together with the Sweden based Thomas Ulimwengu are the only professional players in the squad picked by Coach Salum Mayanga to play in the forthcoming COSAFA Cup.
“All players are in the residential camp and all are in good shape,” said Taifa Stars team manager Danny Msangi. Msangi said the training session was going on well ahead of the tournament which officially kicks off from June 25 to July 9 in South Africa.
“We have all 22 players at the training camp and all were pronounced fit to commence training programme after passing medical test conduct by the team physician,” he said. Msangi said all players arrived in time, except Elias Maguli, who ply trade with Oman Side Dhofar SC.
He reported at the camp on Monday due to flight delay. The team manager unveiled that the team conduct two training sessions daily, the morning and night session at the Jakaya M. Kikwete Youth Park and Azam Chamazi Complex respectively.
He also unveiled the team was in a good shape and taking the training programme quite seriously since they are determined to fly high the country’s flag in the event. Tanzania is participating in Cosafa Cup for the third time as a guest nation.
According to Msangi, Taifa Stars’ technical bench is looking forward to utilise the COSAFA cup tournament as part of its preparations for the forthcoming CHAN qualifiers campaign against Rwanda Amavubi next month.
“As you can see the squad comprises only two foreign based players Thomas Ulimwengu and Elias Maguli who have been called in the squad to offer their experiences to the new faces in the squad who the technical bench will evaluate their readiness for the CHAN qualifiers match against ‘Amavubi’,” unveiled Msangi.
Taifa Stars’ new faces picked by coach Salum Mayanga include Salmin Hoza from Mbao FC and Amim Abdulkarim (Toto Africans). Others are Shabani Idd (Azam FC), Stamili Mbonde (Mtibwa Sugar), Raphael Daudi (Mbeya City) and Nurdin Chona from Tanzania Prisons.
The team is expected to leave for South Africa late today ahead of the tournament’s kick off this weekend. Stars full squad named for the Cosafa Cup tournament comprises goalkeepers : Aishi Manula (Azam FC), Benno Kakolanya (Young Africans ) and Said Mohammed from Mtibwa Sugar FC while right backs are Shomari Kapombe (Azam FC) Hassan Ramadhan (Young Africans) and left backs are Gadiel Michael (Azam FC) and Amim Abdulkarim from Toto Africans FC.
Central defenders are Erasto Nyoni (Azam FC), Salim Abdallah (Mtibwa Sugar), Abdi Banda (Simba SC) and Nurdin Chona (Tanzania Prisons) and holding midfielders are Himid Mao (Azam FC) and Salmin Hoza (Mbao FC) while attacking midfielders are Mzamiru Yassin (Simba), Simon Msuva (Young Africans), Raphael Daudi (Mbeya City) and Shiza Kichuya (Simba SC).
Strikers are Thomas Emmanuel Ulimwengu (AFC Eskilstuna – Sweden), Mbaraka Yusuf (Kagera Sugar), Stamili Mbonde (Mtibwa Sugar) Elias Maguli (Dhofar Sc) and Shabani Idd from Azam FC.
Taifa Stars are pooled in group A alongside Mauritius, Malawi and Angola while group B comprises Mozambique, Seychelles, Madagascar and Zimbabwe .
Defending champions South Africa will have to wait to learn their quarterfinal opponents having been drawn against the winner of Group A at the event so they will come up against one of Angola, east African guest nation Tanzania, Mauritius and Malawi in the regional showpiece tournament.