TAIFA Stars play their second leg match of the Fifa World Cup qualifier against Burundi tomorrow, after playing a one all draw against their counterparts in Bujumbura a few days ago.
If the match tomorrow ends in goalless draw, Taifa Stars would proceed to the second round through their goal scored in Bujumbura on account of the Fifa rule in which, an away win counts as two in the event of a draw after two matches of home and away.
That is the rule that took out Simba barely three weeks ago, when they failed to kill the game after allowing UD Songo from Mozambique to score and draw in Dar es Salaam having played a barren draw away from home in Maputo.
Therefore, Taifa Stars need to bear in mind what caused Simba’s untimely exit from the Champions League if they want to take out tiny Burundi from this stage tomorrow, hence the need to ensure that they kill the game very early in the match. And, that can only be done not through defensive play aimed at protecting the one all draw earned in Bujumbura, but rather making sure that they score not one, but over many goals while simultaneously protecting their back.
Taifa Stars players are old and experienced enough to know that there is nothing as fatal as allowing the Burundians to score and away from home. This is because for every goal Burundi scores away from home, it would count two in accordance with the Fifa rule which I have already been noted above.
As already pointed out, Burundi will have no pressure tomorrow having already been written off by their fans back home when they failed to kill the game, hence allowing their opponents to come back in the game.
What does this mean, Burundi, will play without any pressure and a team that plays without pressure is a very dangerous team because it is not prone to stupid mistakes. Simba lost to the Mozambican side in a crucial CAF Champions League match simply because their left and right fullbacks gave their opponents an elbow movement which allowed them back into the game.
That is one of the technical problems Taifa Stars’ technical bench needs to avoid. Since it is more or less the same defenders, who play for Simba may also be turning out for Taifa Stars tomorrow. Number two, Taifa Stars will need to employ TOTAL FOOTBALL (all in defence and all in attack) tomorrow if they want to kill the game very early in the match.
Total football helps a team not only to score as many goals as possible, but also to protect its rear. But for such a system to work successfully, the team that employs it must be full laden in the magical four S, namely, strength, speed, stamina and suppleness. But it is important for Taifa Stars to refrain from employing total football if they are not well laden in the four.
This is because if they slacken, then their opponents would catch them in counter-attack.
Taifa Stars will have to sweat plasma tomorrow if they want to take out their opponents whose match plan is to score early in order to unsettle them. For the Burundian chief coach, who manages Taifa Stars, tomorrow is going to be his biggest test, to name a Taifa Stars team that would beat his own fellow countrymen. It is a big test for him because Burundians know his tactics, having learnt his game and trained Burundian players.
Therefore, whether or not he divulges his winning formula to his fellow countrymen, that is immaterial because they know him and they will exploit the knowledge they have about him in the game. In short, much as I expect Taifa Stars to win their match tomorrow, but I would also not be surprised if we lose because their opponents are privy, in one way or another, to techniques and tactics used by Taifa Stars’ chief coach.
Therefore, if Taifa Stars loses the match, we should not jump to conclusions because the Burundians know their fellow countryman, after all, he is their own son. Going forward, these are the things that the Tanzania Football Federation needs to avoid in future, getting neighbours to train our national soccer teams.
England explored that experiment with the Swedish and Italian men. But they have not done that again for the same fears of exposing their national soccer team to people whose nations dumped out in later stages of the tournament. The point is, one can do that with clubs.
Yes, clubs can get coaches from neighbouring countries, but not the national soccer team. Our national soccer team can get a foreign coach, but for heavens’ sake, not from our neighbours! England did better during the Russian Fifa World Cup because of introducing foreign coaches, most of whom are their neigbours, in their clubs.
That is what we need to do but not what we have done with our Taifa Stars. Had we had the Nigerian tactician today, meeting Nigeria’s Super Eagles would have been a long shot.