NATIONAL football team, Taifa Stars defender Erasto Nyoni has been omitted from the released provisional squad which enters into camp on Monday.
Taifa Stars will face Uganda Cranes in the final group L encounter of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on March 24th this year. Unveiling the 25-strong member squad yesterday, Taifa Stars Head Coach Emmanuel Amunike included four new faces, while dropping versatile defender Nyoni, who is battling to regain match fitness after spell out due to injury.
The four new faces include goalkeepers Mechata Mnata from Mbao FC, Aron Kalambo from Mbeya City, Suleman Salula from Malindi FC-Zanzibar and defender Vincent Philipo from Mbao FC. There was no place for South Africa based Baroka FC defender Abdi Banda, who reportedly fell out with coach Amunike during their previous qualifiers clash away to Lesotho.
Young Africans playmaker, Ibrahim Ajib has still failed to impress Amunike enough to be included in the squad, despite scoring six goals and providing 13 assists for his team in the Mainland Premier League campaign.
Addressing media after naming the squad, Amunike said he has big hopes that for the first time after 39 years, Taifa Stars will qualify into this year’s AFCON finals in Egypt.
“We need to work hard during our preparations in order to defeat Uganda, who despite the fact that they have already booked the ticket to Egypt, they will not be coming here to play friendly match. They want to win too,” Amunike said.
He further narrated that the selected players ought to be committed, disciplined and ready to fight for their country because it will be pleasing to put smiles on 50 million Tanzanians after the match and qualifying into the finals.
“The happiness that Tanzanians will have after defeating Uganda, I’m sure no amount of money in the world can buy it… that is why we must arm ourselves well to stand tall after the final whistle,” said the former Barcelona player.
Asked why some players like Banda and Ajib were missing from the current squad, the coach replied that the selection of national team players is based on those players who are ready to put it all for the country and not based through friendship or to make some people happy.
Packed in group L, Taifa Stars are second on the table with five points, eight points behind leaders Uganda Cranes, who have already qualified with 13 points. Lesotho are third with five points, while Carpe Verde trail the list with four points.
On his part, Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) Marketing Manager George Mango, whose firm are Taifa Stars main sponsors said from next week, they will start special promotion ahead of the big match whereby 50 VIP tickets will be given to lucky winners.
“This is our time to qualify into the AFCON finals and I urge Tanzanians to flock at the stadium to support their team,” Mango said.
Taifa Stars full squad: Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simba), Mechata Mnata (Mbao FC), Aron Kalambo (Mbeya City) and Suleman Salula (Malindi FC-Zanzibar).
Defenders: Hassan Kessy (Nkana Rangers), Vincent Philipo (Mbao FC), Gadiel Micheal, Kelvin Yondani and Andrew Vincent (Young Africans), Agrey Morris (Azam FC), Kennedy Wilson (Singida FC) and Ally Mtoni (Lipuli FC).
Midfielders: Feisal Salum (Young African), Himid Mao (Petrojet-Egypt), Mudathiri Yahya (Azam FC), Yahya Zayd (Ismaily-Egypt) and Johas Mkude (Simba).
Strikers: Shabani Chilunda (Tenerife-Spain), Shiza Kichuya (ENPPI SC-Egypt), Simon Msuva (Difaa El Jadid-Morocco), Rashid Mandawa (BDF XIBotswana), Mbwana Samatta (Genk-Belgium), Thomas Ulimwengu (JS Saoura-Algeria), John Bocco (Simba) and Fared Mussa (Tenerife-Spain).