TAIFA Stars Head Coach Emmanuel Amunike has w arned p lay ers not to relax after their 2-0 victory over Cap e Verde on Tuesday as they have two crucial matches ahead.
He said the win should make the players focus for the two matches against Lesotho and Uganda whose good results will guarantee Stars a ticket to play in 2019 A FCON finals.
He, however, hailed his charges for fighting hard to enable the team grab vital three points at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
Goals from Simon Msuva in the 28t h minute and Mbwana Samatta’s long range drive in the 57t h minute of the second half were enough to hand Taifa Stars their first victory of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at the packed National Stadium in Dar es Salaam and rekindled hopes to win one of two Group L tickets.
With the victory, Stars have climbed the ladder to occupy second spot with five points from four matches while remaining with two more assignments to wrap up their group L schedule.
Addressing media in a post match press conference, Amunike said he was pleased with the overall performance especially on how the players responded positively from the past 3- 0 de feat.
“We knew in advance that the match would be difficult since our opponents (Cape V erde) have lately improved a lot in football but we prepared our boys well mentally and physically to give it all on the battlefield for the benefit of the country,” Amunike said.
He added that Tanzania has talented players capable to make impact in football hence the only thing is to nurture and instill in them a spirit of confidence which he said is very important in football.
Moreover, the coach said the triumph should not make them relax but rather must go back to assess themselves ahead of other approaching matches in their group.
“The 3- 0 defeat we suffered prior to this match was like a doubt for us but I am glad that we have restored back hopes of playing in the next year’s AFCON finals in Cameroon.
Each team wants to reach there that is why I usually say it will not be an easy task, but we must continue believing in ourselves,” he said.
Furthermore, the former Barcelona player requested football fans in the country to never lose hope instead rally behind the team as they eye to play in the AFCON finals.
“Football is interesting, before this game, we were at the bottom of the table, but now, we are second in our group. This alone is a clear indication that anything on the way can happen,” he said.
Amunike also lauded the top level of discipline showcased by his players defensively and offensively while comparing with their previous game in Praia.
In his words, Cape V erde coach Rui Aguas said the journey is still on despite going down on the day. “We have two more matches to play and at this juncture, we just need to remain focused and approach every encounter with an open mind,” he said.
However, there are prospects that Taifa Stars skipper Mbwana Samatta could miss the next game versus Lesotho after he accumulated two consecutive yellow cards in the past two contests that Stars played.
Samatta has of late been linked with a move to the English Premier League side Everton but it is yet to be officially confirmed.