Tanzania’s Taifa Stars Captain and KRC Genk striker Samatta, with other players, playing in Europe including Thomas Ulimwengu and Faridi Mussa will join the team in Cairo, Egypt for the camp ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers match against Lesotho, scheduled to be staged on June 10 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Taifa Stars jet-off to Cairo yesterday at 4:45 through Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), however the team coach, Salum Mayanga has made slight changes in his squad, dropping defenders Mwinyi Haji and Aggrey Morris
Mayanga said: “The team captain Mbwana Samatta (KRC Genk, Belgium) and Farid Mussa (DC Tenerife, Spain) have confirmed to join the team later on because at the moment they have crucial league matches with their respective clubs in Europe.”
He has replaced them with central defender Nurdin Chona from Tanzania Prisons and Azam’s left wing back Gadiel Michael. Lack of clarity on the status of Zanzibar in the 2019 qualifiers forced the coach to drop the two players.
Zanzibar Football Association (ZFA) gained full membership of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) recently and it is yet clear whether players from Zanzibar could feature in the Taifa Stars, when it comes to CAF tournaments Ironically, prior to granting ZFA full CAF membership, the continental soccer body had already formed groups for nations that will compete in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
And, coach Mayanga said, “Due to that confusion, we (technical bench) decided to use players from the Mainland Tanzania, until clarity is made on the matter,” he said. A squad of 23 players was due to travel to Egypt yesterday for eightday camp to fine tune for the Lesotho clash.
A week ago, Mayanga picked a 23 strongman squad, in readiness for Lesotho clash, whereby in his list he has left out Young Africans dependable goalkeeper, Deogratius Munishi, who has also recently lost his team’s number one spot to Beno Kakolanya.
Instead, Mayanga has preferred to pick another Yanga goalkeeper, Kakolanya who proved himself after featuring impressively for his side in the last league games.
About midfielder, Jonas Mkude, who sustained minor injuries in a road accident, Mayanga said the player will not make the trip to Egypt and has been given seven-day off to monitor his situation.
According to the coach, Mkude will join the team in COSAFA Cup tournament. Players in the squad that was due to fly out to Egypt include goalkeepers Aishi Manula from Azam FC and Said Mohammed from Mtibwa Sugar apart from Kakolanya.
Defenders are Shomari Kapombe, Salim Abdallah, Erasto Nyoni and Gadiel Michael (Azam), Hassan Kessy (Yanga), Mohammed Hussein and Abdi Banda from Simba and Nurdin Chona from Tanzania Prisons. Midfielder are Himid Mao and Salum Abubakar (Azam), Said Ndemla, Muzamiru Yassin and Shiza Kichuya from Simba SC and Simon Msuva (Yanga).
Strikers are Thomas Ulimwengu (FC Eskilstuna, Denmark), Mbaraka Yussuf (Kagera Sugar), Ibrahim Ajib (Simba) and Abdulrahman Mussa from Ruvu Shooting. Stars are expected back in the country on June 7 ready to host Lesotho.
Stars technical bench comprises Fulgence Novatus (Assistant Coach), Patrick Mwangata ( Goalkeepers Coach), Physician Gilbert Kigadiya and Richard Yomba, Kit Manager Ally Ruvu and team manager Danny Msangi. In the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, Tanzania is pooled in group L alongside Lesotho, Cape Verde Island and Uganda. 2019 AFCON finals will be staged in Cameroon.