Poulsen said his team will bank on long time preparations it had, as well as the experience it garnered in the Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) U-20 Championship in Botswana late last year to secure good results against the visitors, despite not knowing much about the latter.
“We are looking forward to playing international matches. We have been training regularly for a long time and I am very happy that we now have to play Sudan,” said Poulsen. He said his team has so far not played any international friendly match prior to facing Sudan but the plenty of time the home side has spent in training gives it much confidence going into today’s duel.
“I hope tomorrow (today) you will see a young team, hard working team…there will be mistakes but that is quite normal among young players,” said the Danish tactician. Poulsen hinted that striker, Jerome Lambele, was the only player nursing injury until a few days back but the promising Moro United attacker has already rejoined the rest of the squad.
“It is important for young players to play international matches because it is part of their development, part of their future. It is difficult to assess the performance of your team if you do not play international matches,” he said. “If you play well, you stand a good chance to win but it all starts with the performance…you need to perform well to realize the target,” he added.
Poulsen said he is looking forward to seeing how his players will react when playing in front of the home crowd and was optimistic the latter will adapt to whatever response they will have from the fans. “I am waiting to see how the players (Ngorongoro Heroes) will react tomorrow (today) because it is the first time for most of them to play an international match at the National Stadium, although they have been training there quite often,” he said.
Ngorongoro Heroes skipper, Omega Seme, also concurred with his coach on the team’s expectations in today’s match, saying good preparations and determination will help them prevail. “We have prepared well…we have been in the training camp for a very long time, so, I hope we will perform well tomorrow. I am calling on fans to come out in numbers tomorrow and cheer our team,” said the midfielder, who also turns out for the Mainland giants Yanga.
Sudan’s U-20 team head coach, Azhari Osman, also admitted to have no knowledge of Ngorongoro Heroes but said he is looking forward to a good match. “We are pleased to play Ngorongoro Heroes…this is more of a friendly match because Tanzania and Sudan are neighbours. I have no knowledge of our opponents, thus, I am prepared for any of the three results, be it winning, losing or draw”, said Osman.
Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer, Boniface Wambura, said the match’s entrance fees will be 10, 000/- for each of the VIP A seats, 5, 000/- for each of the VIP B and VIP C seats respectively while fans that will opt to watch the match from the rest of the stadium will pay 3, 000/- each.
He said the return leg match will be played in Sudan between May 4 and 6, adding that TFF is waiting for Sudan‘s soccer governing body to inform the former of the exact date for the game. Meanwhile, the National Sports Council (NSC) Chairman, Dioniz Malinzi, is expected to be the guest of honour in the opening of the TFF Annual General Assembly scheduled to take place at the NSSF Waterfront Hall in Dar es Salaam this weekend.
Wambura said the meeting’s members arrived in the city yesterday and will stay at the Royal Valentino Hotel. The members are from the regional football associations and the Mainland Premier League clubs. The meeting will have 11 agendas, which include the speech from the TFF President, Leodegar Tenga, a report of the federation’s performance in the last year, a report on the federation’s audited accounts and this year’s budget.
In another development, Wambura said two Mainland Premier League matches, which were scheduled to take place today, have been pushed back to Monday. The first will see Azam FC host Mtibwa Sugar at the former’s venue at Chamazi, on the outskirts of the city while Simba will face Moro United at the National Stadium.