AFTER being bundled out of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Taifa Stars must be re-constructed and be ready to compete effectively for the next finals.
Taifa Stars’ dream to play again in AFCON finals was shattered during their game against Equatorial Guinea which gave them subsequent elimination and as noted by our columnist Attilio Tagalile, they looked already eliminated even before taking off from Dar es Salaam due to poor preparation.
As the columnist claimed their defeat was a foregone conclusion because they had not been prepared in any way, such that it winning could be a miracle.
Taifa Stars conceded the lone goal, as always, at the tail end of the match in the 89th minute. Taifa Stars’ defeats in the last two decades, as columnist noted, you would discover that they always conceded in the opening and at the tail end of their matches.
They always conceded in the opening minutes of the game due to lack of concentration on the part of the players and did the same thing at the tail end of the game on account of tiredness.
Lack of concentration and tiredness are problems which are a result of lack of intensive training and friendly matches against well, drilled and more skillful teams and this is a problem Taifa Stars have suffered from year in, year out.
Taifa Stars’ lineup was a clear demonstration of what our columnist has frequently written, namely, the effect of what had been caused by the change of coaches.
It was crystal clear that if we had paraded the same Taifa Stars team that represented us in Cameroon, during the CHAN soccer tournament, probably we would have done better than what we did against Equatorial Guinea and Libya. Simply put, Taifa Stars were beaten by their counterparts and subsequently eliminated from the Afcon run through the TFF officials’ cavalier running of soccer in the country.
For instance, let’s just ask ourselves; did they have to sack the Burundian coach after the team’s failure to qualify for the group stages in the Chan soccer tournament? As our columnist noted in his sports column, Taifa Stars’ participation in the Chan tournament this year was the best since they first took part in such a tournament.
For the first time, the team had very few players from Simba and Young Africans and that is why they played better, and all because they (the TFF) had taken a cue from departed President after he had said Simba na Yanga have for a long time delayed us from winning in competitive soccer matches.
In Malabo on Friday night, we saw how the new coach had packed Simba players in the defence, and for very understandable reasons. Given their present participation in the Champions League, the coach thought they could have helped him in dealing with their opponents who had been expected to launch relentless attacks from the start to the end.
Unfortunately the defence finally let us down and in the proverbial eleventh hour. Had Taifa Stars played a barren draw on Friday night, they could have bagged in the fifth point and they could have ultimately won a place in the Afcon finals after winning their last match, at home, against the Libyans.
In short, the Malabo match was very critical for Taifa Stars’ success. Winning against Equatorial Guinea could have easily given our team their second outing in the Afcon finals.
In fact, if there was anything that TFF officials were supposed to have done in preparation for the team in the Afcon qualifiers, it was in the match against Equatorial Guinea.