Tanzania’s Taifa Stars are targeting a win that will ‘put one foot’ in the group stage of Afcon 2015 qualification as they host Mozambique’s Mambas at the National Stadium in Dar s Salaam this Sunday.
Tanzania will be playing Mozambique for the fifth time in Afcon qualifiers, in which the former has never eliminated the latter, managing only one victory, lost twice and drawn once.
Seven years ago Mozambique ended Tanzania’s dream of reaching the 2008 Afcon finals. The Mambas triumphed 1-0, courtesy of a Tico Tico goal in a match the Stars needed victory to keep alive hopes of reaching Ghana 2008.
The two teams faced again off in 2011 in a friendly in Maputo where Tanzania lost 2-0. In Afcon 2013 qualifying, the Stars and Mambas renewed their rivalry again in the first round of qualifiers.
Tied 2-2 over two legs, the Taifa Stars were eliminated 7-6 on post-match penalties.
As the two sides meet again to decide who joins 2012 champions Zambia’s group which also has Cape Verde and Niger, the Stars are prepared for a tough game but remain optimistic of progression.
Taifa Stars skipper Nadir Haroub expressed optimistic that Tanzania was equal to the task and was hopeful of overcoming the Mambas.
“I know Mozambique is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them, but everyone in the team understands the importance of winning the game; there is a team spirit and no doubt we’ll win,” Haroub said adding: “We have a strong team that can beat Mozambique. We will fight hard for victory as we want to reach the next stage of the tournament, hopeful we’ll do so and bring joy to Tanzanians.”
Tanzania warmed up for Sunday’s clash with a two-week training camp in Botswana where they lost a training match 4-2 to the Zebras, a result Stars coach Mart Nooij’s reckoned would spur his squad into putting up a good performance against Mozambique.
Nooij, who led Mozambique to Afcon Angola 2010, said the result in Botswana would not affect his players.
Nooij’s preparations, which continued in the Mbeya region after the tour of Botswana, have been boosted by the arrival of the foreign-based trio of Mbwana Samata, Thomas Ulimwengu and Kazimoto.
Taifa Stars eliminated Zimbabwe 3-2 on aggregate while Mozambique enjoyed a 5-0 over South Sudan, also over two legs to reach this final elimination round.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) News
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