Tanzania/Gambia: Poulsen Rues Defeat to Gambia
LACK of nine key players was among the reasons behind the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, 2-0 defeat to Gambia in their last match of the 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Independence Stadium in Banjul on Saturday.
Taifa Stars Danish coach Kim Poulsen said in a post-match interview the absence of nine players who were left behind due to injuries cost the team dearly.
“I’m informed that Gambia recalled eleven professional players featuring in different leagues outside their country because they understood the importance of winning the game,” he said.
“But we left some of our players because they were injured and others didn’t turn up for training,” he added. Taifa Stars finished third in Group C with six points behind Ivory Coast, who have qualified for the playoff of the World Cup qualifiers, and Morocco.
Gambia are last with four points Poulsen urged the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to ensure that all key players are available in time when called for national duty, especially during the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifier.
“Since we have built the team with the aim of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations it was vital for players to be available when called for national duty,” he said.
Key players who missed the trip to Gambia are Mbwana Samatta, Thomas Ulimwengu (TP Mazembe of DRC), Kelvin Yondani, Athumani Iddi (Young Africans), Aggrey Morris, Salum Abubakar and John Boko (Azam), Mwinyi Kazimoto (Al Markiya of Qatar) and Shomari Kapombe (AS Cannes, France).
Poulsen said though young players in team made several mistakes they have gained significant experience and if key players were in the starting lineup Taifa Stars would have excelled in the game.
However, despite the defeat the Dane has not lost hope with his plans to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, saying he gets maximum support from the national team main sponsor, Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) through its Kilimanjaro Premium Lager brand.
He noted that the five-year Kilimanjaro Premium Lager sponsorship worth 15b/- has facilitated his programme for the national team.
“We have gained significant experience from the World Cup qualifiers since we showed our capability when we took on Africa’s soccer giants Ivory Coast and Morocco,” said Poulsen.
He said it was sad to lose the game but Tanzanians should be aware of the long term goals and that the team keeps improving. Soccer fans in Gambia had no faith in their national team following defeats in their previous games including a 2-1 loss to Taifa Stars in the first-leg tie in Dar es Salaam.
Godfrey Kaishozi, a Gambia-based Tanzanian expressed his delight with the performance of the team in the first half, saying the game changed after Gambia scored a goal in the 45minute followed by another in the second half. “Lack of key players has affected our team,” he said.
“Their presence in the team would probably have influenced their performance.” Francis Mushi, another Tanzanian based in Gambia, said he turned out for the game because of Taifa Stars’ good performance in the previous game against Gambia in Dar es Salaam which they won.
“We played well in the first half but Gambia changed in the second half and emerged victorious,” he said. Gambia won the game thanks to goals from their captain Mustafa Jarju who was the best player of the game.
Taifa Stars’ first eleven was Juma Kaseja, Vincent Barnabas, Erasto Nyoni/ David Luhende, Nadir Haroub, Henry Joseph, Frank Domayo, Haruni Chanongo, Amri Kiemba, Mrisho Ngassa, Simon Msuva and Khamis Mcha/Juma Liuzio.
The Stars left Banjul on Sunday by via Dakar, Senegal and Nairobi, Kenya and are expected to arrive at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam at 2.05pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, minnows Cape Verde join Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Ghana in the final elimination round.
The winner of Sunday’s match between Cameroon and Libya will complete the 10-nation line-up after Senegal beat Uganda 1-0 late on Saturday in a match played in Marrakech, Morocco. The draw for the third and final round of African World Cup qualifiers is scheduled for September 16 in Cairo.