THE Government announced yesterday that the Dreamliner which was supposed to transport Taifa Stars players and supporters to Cape Verde has been replaced with a new plane due to small airport in Praia.
This was revealed by the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Harrison Mwakyembe during a press briefing held in the city prior to the team’s departure to Cape Verde last night for the crucial 2019 group L AFCON qualifying encounter slated on October 12 this year.
“Let me take this opportunity to let Tanzanians know that there are logistic changes concerning with the trip to Cape Verde since our Dreamliner cannot land at Praia Airport because the running track there is 2.1km small while the Dreamliner requires the running track of not less than 3km for it to land and take off easily,” Mwakyembe said.
He added that the new plane, Embraer 190, which is registered with Tanzania numbers has the capacity to carry 120 people, the figure he said is still pleasing to accompany the national football team.
Moreover, Mwakyembe said it could have been possible for the Dreamliner to make the journey and land at the alternative airport which is 45 minutes drive to Praia but said they do not want to trouble players with unnecessary movement which can lead them to fatigue hence opted to get the new plane which will land at the initially planned airport.
The minister further said some people have been disqualified from making the journey due to lack of valid passports despite having the needed amount to travel.
“People should be aware that they are going outside the country hence they must have valid travelling documents to avoid inconveniences,” he said.
Earlier, Taifa Stars Head Coach Emmanuel Amunike said their objective is to qualify and play in the 2019 AFCON finals to be hosted by Cameroon. “As I usually say, discipline plays a big part in football and I am happy with the current morale within my squad where each player is working hard to get playing time,” Amunike said.
Adding, the former Barcelona player said he is aware that Cape Verde have a good team but insisted that his side is well drilled to pocket nothing less but all the necessary three points.
“I am thankful to the government and Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) for providing a direct mode of transport which otherwise could have been troublesome if we had to use indirect flights.
This shows that the nation is ready to see Taifa Stars playing in Cameroon next year,” Amunike said. In the same token, TFF President Wallace Karia said the federation has done its part and what is remaining now is to see Tanzanians supporting their team to get the desired results as far as AFCON is concerned.
Also, the team’s Vice Captain Himid Mao assured the public that they were heading to Cape Verde to do the intended job of bagging three points. “We are 100 per cent fit to face them and fight for our country.
The most important thing is for Tanzanians to rally behind us in both away and home games,” Mao said.
Both Taifa Stars and Cape Verde are winless in their two previous qualifying games that earned Taifa Stars two points to sit on third position while their opponents have one point and tail group L.