The national team of Tanzania, Taifa Stars head coach, Charles Boniface Mkwassa has named five foreign based players in his 29- man squad, to prepare for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against continental giants Nigeria on September 5 this year.
Hassan Sembi from South Africa’s Santos FC and Adi Yussuf from Mansfield Town of England were named for the first time and will join Mrisho Ngasa from Free State of South Africa and TP Mazembe duo of Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu in the squad.
Youthful Orgenes Mollel from Aspire Africa camp in Senegal and Azam’s new boy Farid Musa have also been included in the team that face a must win situation against Nigeria to revamp their hopes of making it to the 2017 AFCON finals.
Taifa Stars lost their first group match 3-0 to ‘Pharaohs’ of Egypt, forcing the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to overhaul the team’s technical bench, whereby Dutch trainer Mart Nooij was replaced with Mkwasa.
Mkwasa said that the team will move into camp in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, where they will stay together for one week before departing for Istanbul, Turkey on August 23 this year, to set up a ten-day camp to prepare for their second match of the qualifiers.
In Turkey, Taifa Stars will play two friendly matches against Libya and Kuwait before returning back in the country to face the ‘Super Eagles’ of Nigeria.
He named players who will move into camp on Sunday as goalkeeper, Ally Mustafa (Yanga) and Aishi Manula (Azam). Defenders are Shomari Kapombe (Azam), Michael Aidan (Ruvu Shooting), Juma Abdul, Mwinyi Haji, Nadir Haroub and Kelvin Yondani (Yanga), Abdi Banda and Hassan Isihaka from Simba.
Midfielders are Himid Mao, Frank Domayo, Mudathir Yahya (Azam), Salum Telela (Yanga) and Said Ndemla from Simba.
Forwards are Orgenes Mollel (Aspire – Senegal), Abdrahman Mbambi (Mafunzo), Deus Kaseke, Saimon Msuva (Yanga), Ramadhani Singano, Farid Musa, John Bocco, Ame Ally (Azam) and Rashid Mandawa from Mwadui FC.
Mkwasa said the five foreign based players will join the rest in Turkey camp to prepare for the crucial match Meanwhile, Nigerians have expressed their worry of Taifa Stars striker Thomas Ulimwengu ahead of their qualifier clash next month.
According to SuperSports, if there is one Tanzanian many Nigerian football fans know it is Ulimwengu. Not because Ulimwengu along with Mbwana Samatta are arguably the most high profile players on the Taifa Stars team with both playing for TP Mazembe but because Ulimwengu has actually beaten them before.
The Nigerians still remember June 2011 when the national Under- 23 side hosted Nigeria in an Olympic qualifier. Nigeria is no pushover in this category, being the first nation to win Gold for the continent in Atlanta in 1996, as well as placing second on other occasions.
The 2011 team, living true to tradition, was just as potent as any other but Ulimwengu was unimpressed and sent them packing with a monster strike with just five minutes to go in a hard as nails match.
In as much as Nigeria would steamroll the Tanzanians in the return leg and expel them, many till today remember Ulimwengu’s bomb. Such was its quality.
Hopefully for the Eagles, one such a Nigerian remembering how dangerous this Striker can be, will be new coach Sunday Oliseh who now will have to find a solution not just to coral Samatta, but Ulimwengu as well.
Regardless of who Oliseh picks, they will need to bring their A game to match Ulimwengu because the man is gifted with an impeccable overall vision of the field which he recently put on display against the Atlas Lions by scoring and creating assists for Samatta and beating Morocco 3–1 in 2014 in Dar es Salaam.