Stars out to draw Zebra’s blood


NATIONAL football team, Taifa Stars come face to face with Botswana in an international friendly match at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.

Stars Head coach, Salum Mayanga is adamant that his charges will win, looking to keep his 100 per cent record against Botswana ‘The Zebras’, winning against them in his first assignment as Stars tactician.

“Our team is in good shape and we are ready for the game. Almost all players are in camp and are looking forward for the encounter,” Mayanga told journalists at the pre- match conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Mayanga led Stars to beat the Zebras 2-0 in an international friendly encounter at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on March 28th, this year. “My first assignment as Stars head coach was against Botswana and we won (2-0), they are a good team and play good football.

It will be a tough game but we are determined to win this one again,” he said. He said their target is to win so as to keep improving in the FIFA ranking and motivate players in the coming 2019 AFCON qualifiers encounter.

Mayanga, who was appointed to charge of the team on January 4th, this year, has so far led Stars in ten matches, winning five, four draws and one defeat. Under his reign, Taifa Stars beat Botswana 2-0, Burundi 2-1, Malawi 2-0, South Africa 1-0 and beat Lesotho 4-3.

They drew 1-1 against Angola and drew twice against Rwanda (1-1 and 0-0). They lost 4-2 to Zambia. Botswana Coach, David Bright said it will be a big challenge for his squad and the technical bench, although he remained confident that the team will post positive results.

“I’ve selected a combination of experienced and young players and the objective is to prepare them for the other international assignments,” he said. Botswana arrived in the country on Thursday with a full squad comprising of 18 players plus nine technical bench members.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communication Officer, Alfred Lucas, told journalists that all necessary preparation for the game to take place are complete. Lucas said referee Elly Sasii will be in charge of the match today and he will be assisted by Soud Lillah (Line 1) and Frank Komba (Line 2), while Israel Nkongo will be the fourth official.

Stars’ foreign based players have descended into the country ahead of the friendly match. Belgium based striker and Stars’ skipper Mbwana Samatta was the first professional to touch down on Monday evening before witnessing the arrival of Elias Maguli from Oman based Dhofar FC.

Simon Msuva, who features for Difaa El Jadidah of Morocco and Abdi Banda, who play his trade with Baroka FC of South Africa, have all arrived and joined the rest of the squad prior to the crucial friendly clash.

For the past four days Stars have been under going intensive drills at Uhuru Stadium as they engage in morning and afternoon training sessions. Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, will be at the Uhuru Stadium to witness today’s friendly encounter between Taifa Stars and Botswana.

“I know that my presence at the stadium will motivate Stars’ players to produce a stern performance over the visiting side Botswana and win the game. These (International matches) are the ones I like to attend in person,” Mwakyembe said.

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