TAIFA Stars hero against Equatorial Guinea on Friday Salum Aboubakar ‘Sure Boy’ said he was happy to score his first goal for the national team, which enabled Stars 2-1 winners on the day.
It was the first clash in their group J 2021 Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualifiers as Tunisia thrashed Libya 4-1 in the second match of the same group.
The results have seen Stars claiming a second place in the group with three points similar to group’s leaders Tunisia, who scored four goals to top the ladder.
Equatorial Guinea and Libya are without point with one goal each to sit at the bottom respectively.
Taifa Stars produced yet another impressive comeback in the second half after scoring two goals to shrug off a 1-0 lead, which was enjoyed by the visitors throughout the first half.
It was Simon Msuva whose solo effort saw him netting an equaliser in the 68th minute to put the hot game level, as the former West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang’s 15th minute long range strike gave the National Thunders an early lead.
Yes, in football, it is not over until the final whistle is blown and this was proved in the injury time when the creative Azam FC midfielder was fed with a good pass just outside the area before unleashing a bullet which sailed straight into the back of the visitors’ net.
A campaign for Stars to collect maximum three points at home in all their upcoming AFCON qualifiers encounters has therefore began positively.
“The game was tough especially in the first half… we created many scoring chances but could not turn them into goals. I thank God because the last gasp goal I netted was my first goal serving in the senior team,” Abubakar said.
He added that he missed the chance to play in this year’s AFCON finals staged in Egypt insisting that this could be the right direction to take him and the entire team to the next AFCON finals.
On his part, Stars Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije said the victory helped to put them on the right track as they target to reappear in AFCON finals in 2021 to be staged in Cameroon.
“I am impressed with the way my players approached the match. They fought hard as you saw until finally we managed to win the match,” he said.
Moreover, the coach thanked members of the media saying they provided some important information about how Equatorial Guinea plays, a thing he said made them to study well their opponents before the game.
Stars skipper Mbwana Samatta revealed that he was deprived a 100 per cent clear penalty on the day as the match unfolded.
“To me, that was completely a penalty because I was tackled inside the box but the referee waved it away,” Samatta said.
However, things did not go well with the National Thunder coach Sebastien Migne who said it was difficult for him and his players to accept the results claiming that it was not a fair game
. “Maybe you deserved to win but for me, I cannot accept that,” the former Harambee Stars coach said at a post-match conference.
Stars jetted off to Tunisia yesterday to face Libya in their second encounter in the same group on Tuesday.
Taifa Stars is eyeing to qualify for the third time in the lucrative continental showpiece after making it in the 1980 finals held in Nigeria and 2019 finals staged in Egypt.