THE national football team, Taifa Stars resumed training in Dar es Salaam yesterday, to start preparations for the FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018 qualifier against Malawi on Wednesday.
Early this week, head coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa named unchanged squad for the crucial double header qualifier clash against Malawi. Taifa Stars will host Malawi in the World Cup qualifier preliminary round first leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
The return leg is due four days later at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre. Ahead of the two-legged encounter, Mkwasa has opted to retain the same squad he picked for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Nigeria played earlier this month, ending in a barren draw.
It is a decision that will bode well with local football fans given his team produced a mesmerizing performance in their previous fixture against the Super Eagles of Nigeria, who were lucky to escape with a point. According to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Media and Communication Officer, Baraka Kizuguto, the team, which is sponsored by the Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, assembled into their residential camp on Thursday and started their preparations yesterday afternoon for the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Kizuguto said all local based players have reported in camp, while foreign based players—Mrisho Ngassa, who plies his trade at Free State Stars of South Africa and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe duo of Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu are expected to join the rest in camp soon ready for the crunch battle against Malawi.
Earlier this week, South African club Free State Stars have asked the TFF to allow winger Mrisho Ngassa to join the national team camp on October 4 (tomorrow), so that he can feature in the Telkom Knockout Cup match against Bidvest Wits scheduled for today.
The winner of the Tanzania- Malawi tie will face Algeria the next round of the continental qualifiers. Players who are in camp are Ally Mustafa, Aishi Manula, Said Mohamed, Juma Abdul, Shomari Kapombe, Mohamed Hussein, Haji Mwinyi, Hassan Isihaka, Kelvin Yondani and skipper Nadir Haroub.
Others are Himid Mao, Mudathir Yahya, Frank Domayo, Said Ndemla, Salum Telela, Deus Kaseke, Saimon Msuva, Farid Musa, John Bocco, Rashid Mandawa and Ibrahim Hajibu
Meanwhile, the Mainland soccer team, Kilimanjaro Star, has confirmed to compete in this year’s CECAFA Challenge Cup, which will be held in Ethiopia from November 21 to December 6. TFF Media and communication Officer, Baraka Kizuguto said at least 12 nations will compete in this year’s edition of the continent’s oldest soccer tournament.The event did not take place last year and it was held for the last time in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013 and the host lifted the trophy. CECAFA member countries are Tanzania Mainland, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Sudan South and Zanzibar