TANZANIA’S Taifa Stars brightened their Cosafa Cup campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over Malawi in their Group A opener at the Moruleng Stadium in Moruleng, South Africa yesterday.
Shiza Kichuya who netted a brace was the match hero as his goals earned Taifa Stars the much needed victory. The emphatic win sees the Taifa Stars temporarily at the top of the group A standings with three points and two goals.
The opening goal came in 12th minute of the game through Shiza Kichuya’s brilliant finish. The player completed a move initiated by Simon Msuva who volleyed the ball past a forest of defenders to score a spectacular goal.
Malawi began the game on high foot and managed to make their lethal attack towards Stars’ goal in just 9th minute of the game, but goalkeeper Aishi Manula was better placed and punched the ball for a corner that didn’t yield fruits.
Immediately after the attack, Stars regrouped and began to play with much confidence on a situation that forced Malawi into defensive game. Simba’s striker Ramadhani Kichuya opened the score sheet with an incredible strike in just 13th minute of the opening half after utilizing well the cross from Simon Msuva.
As this was not enough, five minutes later, Kichuya found the loose ball inside the Malawians territory before neatly putting the ball behind the net to double the score. Efforts by Malawians to reduce the margin and equalize proved failure despite making several threatening goal attempts.
Taifa Stars defence was manned by Abdi Banda, Shomari Kapombe and Salum Mbonde. In the 68th minute, Malawi’s defender Malata Leornard missed a clear chance when he shot over bar a rebound from Manula’s fumbled ball.
Taifa Star coach Salum Mayanga made triple substitution by calling in Hassan Ramadhan for Ramadhani Kichuya and benched Simon Msuva and Elias Maguli for Mbaraka Yusuph and Nurdin Chona respectively.
However, the Flames will have to blame themselves as they squandered countless chances in the second half after Taifa Stars seemed to have lost steam. As the match commentator said, Taifa Stars lost stamina in the second half and allowed Malawi to control the game.
Also Aishi Manula and his central defenders lacked judgment when dealing with high balls and that could have cost them dearly if the Malawian strikers had well capitalized on the weakness.
Tanzania is pooled in Group A alongside Angola, Mauritius and Malawi. Still despite a sloppy play in the second half, The Super Sports commentators lauded Taifa Stars players, saying they were playing ‘total football’.
Speaking in a post-match interview, Taifa Stars head coach Salum Mayanga said he was happy with the general performance of his charges and that the positive outcome will ignite the team’s morale ahead of their next game against Mauritius on June 29th. Lines up: TANZANIA: Manula, Kamagi, Banda, Nyoni, Mbonde, Mao (Chona 88’), Ramadhani (Ramadhan 80’), Yassin, Kopombe, Maguli (Abed 63’).
MALAWI: Kakhobwe, Sanudi, Mulimbika, Chembezi (Bokosi 33’), Lanjesi, Chirwa, Chester, Sailesi, Malata, Linje, Singa (Katinji 69’)