NATIONAL senior football side, Taifa Stars will take on Egyptian counterpart, ‘Pharaohs’ in an international friendly match on June 13th this year at Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt. The match will be used as part of preparations for both teams ahead of the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals that will be staged in Egypt from June 25th to July 29th this year.
The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Information and Communication Officer, Clifford Ndimbo, confirmed that Stars will play the trial match against the host nation of the 2019 AFCON finals, a week before the official kickoff of the Africa’s biggest football showpiece. Taifa Stars, who qualified for the AFCON finals after 39 years, are pooled in group C alongside Algeria, Senegal and their East Africans neighbour Kenya.
“We will play Egypt on June 13th this year, just a week before the kickoff of the finals as part of the team’s preparations for the tournament,” said Ndimbo. Ndimbo also said that Taifa Stars Head Coach, the former Nigerian football legend, Emmanuel Amunike is expected to unveil his squad early next month. Egyptian Football Association (EFA) also confirmed yesterday that the match between Stars and Pharaohs will be staged in Alexandria.
According to the fixture, Taifa Stars will kick off its AFCON campaign against Senegal on June 21st before taking on Kenya’s Harambee Stars in the renewal of the East African derby on June 25th and on June 29th, they will wind up the group campaign by facing Algeria’s ‘Desert Warriors’. To reach the finals, Taifa Stars beat rivals Uganda, The Cranes 3-0 in Dar es Salaam in the final game of group L of AFCON qualifiers.
Last time the team reached the final was in 1980. Tanzania is among the four CECAFA members, which will be playing in the Egypt AFCON finals. Other members are Uganda, Burundi and Kenya. Meanwhile, Confederation of African Football (CAF) has paid $260,000 to all the countries participating in 2019 AFCON to finance their preparations for the tournament in Egypt. This year’s Total Africa Cup of Nations will have 24 countries battling it all out for glory.
The aim of the advance payment is to help federations or associations with smaller budgets to meet the expenses of their preliminary preparations. However, the amounts will be deducted from the premiums to be received by each country at the end of the tournament. The premiums range between US$ 4.5 million for the eventual champions and US$ 475,000 for the teams that will be eliminated at the group stage.