Taifa Stars meet their DRC counterparts at the National Stadium in the city on Thursday in a game that is meant to put both sides in great shape before they take on their respective opponents in the continental event. DRC will play Seychelles in another AFCON Qualifiers duel the same week.
Poulsen said the match against DRC will give him opportunity to try different formations and a section of new players he has called to his squad with a view to selecting the final squad for the Mozambique qualifier.“It’s good to have this match because we are preparing for the game against Mozambique…we have a challenge of trying out new players we have called to the squad but we will also be selecting the squad that will face Mozambique,” said the Danish tactician.
He said with the exception of left back, Juma Jabu, who has been left out of the squad after picking up an injury, the rest of the players were doing well in the camp, adding that young players that have earned their first call up to the team have particularly been fantastic. Players that have been called to the Stars’ squad for the first time include Simba SC’s young defensive midfielder, Jonas Gerald, and Azam FC’s left back, Wazir Salum.
Salum won an abrupt call up following the absence of Yanga’s left back, Stephano Mwasika, who picked an injury during his side’s African Champions League’s preliminary round match against Egypt’s Zamalek at the National Stadium last Saturday. Poulsen hinted on missing the services of midfielder, Nizar Khalfan, who plies his trade in the USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS), in Thursday’s match but the coach will have the option of using striker, Ali Badru Ali, who turns out for Suez Canal in the Egyptian second division league, as the player is expected in Dar es Salaam early this morning.
DRC Assistant Coach, Mutubile Santos, was equally appreciative of his side’s opportunity to play Stars in the international friendly match, saying Stars’ current level of performance and the modern stadium will play a crucial part in DRC’s preparations for its AFCON Qualifiers assignment.
“We know Taifa Stars…we respect it because it is a strong team,” said Santos, adding that DRC will be playing Stars for the second time after grabbing a 2-0 win over the latter in the previous meeting. Santos said DRC wanted to train in a natural pitch of the caliber of the ultra-modern National Stadium before meeting Seychelles, apart from having a tough international friendly considering that Stars play the English type of football. “I have seen Taifa Stars…it has been improving.
On Friday, though, the best team will win,” he added. Santos said DRC will feature only locally-based players as the team’s professionals that play outside the country will not be available until four days before the match against Seychelles. The team’s players, thus, are from giants, TP Mazembe, AS Vita Club and DC Motema Pembe.
Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer, Boniface Wambura, said the match’s kick off has been pushed back to 4.30pm as opposed to the previous that was scheduled at 5pm. He requested fans to turn up in numbers at the stadium and cheer Stars, adding that most of the tickets will be sold at the stadium while others will be available at the previously mentioned centres of Big Bon Kariakoo and Benjamin Mkapa Secondary School.