TAIFA Stars play their second friendly match against Kenya’s Harambee Stars at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi today as part of the preparation for the crucial African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Equatorial Guinea, slated for next Thursday.
It will be the last buildup match for the country’s senior team before they embark on two crucial Afcon qualifiers. After facing Equatorial Guinea, Kim Poulsen’s team will be compelled to host Libya at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on March 28.
Stars will need nothing less than victory in both fixtures to have any chances of progressing into the finals of the prestigious football tournament, a herculean task facing the reinstated Danish tactician Poulsen.
The Tanzanian outfit will go into today’s build-up looking to avenge for the 2-1 loss they suffered at hands of their hosts last Monday, as the two neighbours clashed at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. The win will help restore winning confidence among Taifa Stars players prior to their essential away Afcon fixture.
Remarking after last Monday’s game, Stars coach Poulsen admitted that playing against Kenya was a good option for his team and that they will benefit a lot from the two encounters.
“It was an important game… good for our preparations because we want to see how players can react in International matches. I think we have a lot of work to do especially at our defence because we did not defend properly. “There were a number of individual mistakes and this was partly contributed due to the fact that there are new players in the team but some players like Idd Selemani and Feisal Salum had a good performance. “So, this is just part of our preparations and it was very important for us. We now have a couple of days to go back in training and correct what needs to be corrected before playing again with Harambee Stars,” said Poulsen.
Slotted in group J, Taifa Stars have garnered 4 points, from four matches, hence they need to win both of their remaining fixtures to stand any chance of sneaking into the finals.
The table toppers are Tunisia who have maximised 10 points from their four matches and have already qualified to play in the AFCON finals. Equatorial Guinea are second with 6 points.
Last on the table are Libya who have pocketed 3 points from four games and their last game will be against Taifa Stars at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.