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Profiling the AFCON team: Tanzania

Tanzania last appeared at the finals in 1980. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

ERIC EMLYN OKOTH – Tanzania beat East African rivals Uganda 3-0 on March 24th making it to the finals of the African cup of Nations for the first time in 39years.

The East African State’s home stadium is Benjamin Mpaka located in Dar es Salam with Emmanuel Amunike as their head coach.

Zanzibar however, is a separate Island that was joined to Tanganyika to form Tanzania and has its own team that is an associate member of the African cup of Nations. Despite this, Zanzibar does not qualify to enter the world cup or the African cup of Nations as an independent state team. When it comes to this, they are amalgamated and represented as the Taifa Stars of Tanzania.

Tanzania appears in Group C of the 2019 African Cup of Nations with Senegal, Algeria and Kenya.

Amongst the Taifa Stars’ recent triumphs is 1-0 win against South Africa in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations Cup (COSAFA CUP) Quarter finals.

The Stars however suffered a loss to Zambia later in the COSAFA cup semi-finals. In the third-place playoff, the Taifa Stars managed to emerge victorious against Lesotho in a celebrated Penalty shootout.

Coach

Amuneke, who was most recently coach of Sudan premier league side Al Khartoum before he signed a two-year contract with Tanzania.

Amuneke, 47, replaced local coach Salum Mayanga who had been in charge of Tanzania since 2017.

Amuneke was the assistant coach when Nigeria won the FIFA U-17 world cup Trophy for a record fourth time in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.

Two years later Amuneke led Nigeria to a Fifth U-17 world cup title in Chile and, revered as a proven youth manager, he was swiftly promoted to coach the U-20 side the Flying Eagles.

As a player, he was a key part of the Super Eagles team, scoring both goals at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia where Nigeria beat Zambia 2-1 to secure their second African title.

He also played at the 1994 World Cup – scoring memorable goals against Bulgaria and Italy.

He scored the winner again as Nigeria stunned Argentina 3-2 in the 1996 Olympic football final in Atlanta to become the first African football nation to win Olympic gold.

His clubs included Egyptian side Zamalek, and he played at European football heavyweights FC Barcelona and Portugal’s Sporting Club.

With such an outstanding coach, the Taifa stars could be certain to perform well in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

Star Player

Mbwana Ally Samatta

Samatta, a born of 23rd December 1992 is one of the most prominent players of the Taifa Stars. He is a striker, for the Belgian team Genk.

Samatta’s football career began as a youth player for Tanzanian club African Lyon in 2008. He professionalized in 2010 with Simba Sports Club, where he played for only half of the season before moving to TP Mazembe, spending a total of five years with them, initially becoming a first-team regular.

Mbawana was named the 2015 African based Player of the Year and finished the season as the top goal scorer of the CAF Champions League as he helped TP Mazembe the DR. Congo team to win the title.

In January 2016, Samatta signed for Belgian side KRC Genk, taking them to Europa League the Ebony Soe Award in Belgium for his outstanding season with Genk.

Projection: Group stages

Tanzania’s fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Senegal vs Tanzania, 23rd June
-Kenya vs Tanzania, 27th June
-Tanzania vs Algeria, 01st July

Tanzania’s 23-man squad for AFCON 2019

Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simba SC),Metacha Mhata (Mbao FC) and Aron Kalambo (TZ Prisons).

Defenders: Hassan Ramadan (Nkana FC), Vincent Phillipo (Mbao FC), Gadiel Michael (Young Africans), Ally Mtoni (Lipuli FC), Mohammed Hussein (Simba SC), Kelvin Yondani (Young Africans), Erasto Nyoni (Simba SC) and Agrey Moris (Azam FC)

Midfielders: Feisal Salum (Young Africans), Himid Mao (Petrojet FC), Mudathir Yahya (Azam FC), Frank Domayo (Azam FC), Farid Mussa (Tenerife) and Yahya Zayd (Ismailia).

Forwards: Rashid Mandawa (BDF), Mbwana Samatta (Genk), Thomas Ulimwengu (JS Saoura), John Bocco (Simba SC), Abdillanie Mussa (Blackpool) and Simon Msuva (Difaä El Jadid).

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