Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) believes a controversial penalty by referee Ligali Praphiou was the main reason why Taifa Stars failed to beat the West Africans in Cotonou on Sunday.
“I think we were unlucky with some decisions from the referee. His decisions left a lot to be desired,” the TFF technical director, Salum Madadi said yesterday.
Taifa Stars came from behind to hold hosts Benin 1-1 in a FIFA date friendly match at Stade de l ‘Amities in Cotonou on Sunday.
Benin broke the deadlock in the 30th minute through a controversial penalty awarded to the hosts by a Benin referee.
“I would say it was not a penalty. It was a decision from the referee and that’s it,” Madadi said.
Actually it was a Benin player Khaled Adenon who handed the ball just outside the Taifa Stars penalty box.
And to everyone’s amazement, the Benin awarded the hosts a penalty, which Stephane Sessegnon, who plays for French club, Montpellier converted.
Madadi, once the national soccer team coach, heaped praise on Salum Mayanga’s men, saying, despite the challenges they faced on the pitch, they put up a spirited fight.
He also praised the team’s technical bench led by Mayanga, saying they have what it takes to propel the Stars to higher heights of success.
Stars, looking unperturbed, responded strongly to the goal a few minutes later when Simon Msuva made the best run into Benin penalty box, but was easily blocked by a forest of defenders.
The former Yanga player also had a promising shot few minutes before the end of first half, only to see his strike parried off by Benin custodian.
Taifa Stars goalie Aishi Manula had a busy evening as bravely made daring saves that could have inflicted further pain to Stars.
Overall, Mudathir Yahya, Simon Msuva, Shiza Kichuya and Elias Maguli played classic football in the away pitch. Benin began the match promisingly as they forced Stars to defend in big numbers within their own territory to avoid an early goal.
However, the wet pitch following short rains, made playing difficult for Stars but looked an advantage to the hosts. Most often, Benin looked dangerous whenever they crossed the centre line, especially the left flank where Gadiel Michael stood.
Taifa Stars defenders, led by seemingly matured Abdi Abdi played a cautious marking. In some period there occurred poor coordination at the defence, something that nearly cost Stars dearly, especially in the 89th minute, when Benin capitalized on Stars defensive mix-up, but their strikes fired far above the target.
Banda who was assisted by Kelvin Yondani, Gadiel Michael and skipper Himid Mao, who played as the right back for Stars did an extra job, especially in the early and dying minutes to deny the hosts’ goal-hungry strikers.