Full house at Stars camp as crucial Afcon match looms

Wednesday March 20 2019

The National soccer team, Taifa Stars, defender

The National soccer team, Taifa Stars, defender Erasto Nyoni (left) battles for the ball with midfielder Mudathir Yahya during a training session at Boko Veterans ground on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam yesterday. PHOTO | MICHAEL MATEMANGA 

By Majuto Omary @majutoy2k momary@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Taifa Stars’ preparations for Sunday’s crucial match against Uganda Cranes received a timely morale-booster yesterday when three more foreign-based players reported at camp.

The players include team captain Mbwana Samatta, who plays for KRC Genk of Belgium.

Also on the list are Spain-based strikers Shaaban Idd Chilunda and Farid Mussa.

The trio’s arrival brings to 25 players who are now at camp ahead of the crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) match.

The Group L qualifier will kick off at 7pm, according to Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).

Stars had their first training session yesterday morning at Boko Veterans ground under the watchful eyes of coach, Emmanuel Amunike.

Samatta, Chilunda and Mussa were the only players to miss out of the session, having arrived at the training camp too late to join the rest of the squad.

The trio should be available for today’s session at the National Stadium.

Team manager Danny Msangi said yesterday that coach Amunike expressed happiness with his squad’s fitness.

The players worked out in the gym yesterday evening as part of their recovery sessions.

Sunday’s match will be handled by referee Eric Arnaud Castane from Gabon. He will be assisted by his compatriots Moussounda Montel and Marlaise Boris.

Chilunda features for Spain’s Deportivo Izarra while Mussa plies his trade with Deportivo Tenerife B.

Stars are gunning for their first appearance in the Afcon finals in 39 years.

Their first ever participation in the finals dates back to 1980 in Nigeria. The 2019 finals will take place in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.

Amunike’s team is placed third in Group L with five points. Second-placed Lesotho also have five points but they are ahead on goal difference.

Uganda Cranes, who top the group with 13 points, have already booked a place in the finals, while Cape Verde are at the bottom with four points.