Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stars line up Cranes warm-up

Taifa Stars players celebrate a goal during a

Taifa Stars players celebrate a goal during a past Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match. They are now fine-tuning ahead of next month’s match against Mozambique’s Mambas. PHOTO|FILE 

By Majuto Omary ,The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. The national soccer team, Taifa Stars, will take on The Cranes of Uganda early next month ahead of their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique’s Mambas.

Stars, now on recess after making it to the second round of the Nations Cup at the expense of Zimbabwe, will go head-to-head with the Mambas on July 20 in the first leg at the National Stadium.

“If all goes well, we will face Uganda later this month or early next month in our final warm-up for next month’s match against Mozambique.

“This friendly will be extremely important when we bear in mind what kind of a team we will be up against in the next stage of the Nations Cup,” team manager, Boniface Clemence told The Citizen on Sunday yesterday.

Clemence said he was optimistic The Cranes would give Stars the ‘exposure’ they need ahead of the Mozambique clash.

“The Cranes are a strong team. It’s always a great feeling to come up against them. It just gives us incredible emotions.”

Our target is not only to bundle Mozambique out of the Nations Cup qualifying matches but also make it to the finals in Morocco, next year,” he insisted confidently.

Taifa Stars’ first ever appearance at the Nations Cup finals dates back to 1980 in Nigeria. Their efforts to repeat that feat have always ended miserably.

Like Stars, the Mambas have never qualified for a FIFA World Cup, but they have competed in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations four times- 1986, 1996, 1998 and 2010.

Clemence said Stars would reassemble on June 24 for residential training ahead of what looks to be an intriguing encounter.