TAIFA Stars are all set to take on Libya in their second 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers to be held today at Monastir city in Tunisia.
Stars go into the match with positive mentality after winning 2-1 in their first group J match against Equatorial Guinea at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Friday, which gave them a solid start in this year’s qualifiers.
Midfielder Salum Abubakar ‘Sure Boy’ scored a last gasp winner after Simon Msuva second half strike cancelled out Pedro Mba Obiang opener for the visitors in the first half.
The results present a perfect cushion for Stars heading into the next encounter of the qualifiers. Stars will be looking to continue their perfect start in the ongoing AFCON qualifiers but it will certainly be a tough task for Etienne Ndayiragije’s charges.
Libya lost their opening game 4-1 to Tunisia hence a win for them is also vital to get back in track for a place in the finals to be staged in Cameroon.
Tunisia lead the four team table with three points so as Taifa Stars but the latter have scored few goals (2) against four goals powered by the former.
Equatorial Guinea and Libya cover up the last two places without earning any point.
However, most people are eager to see how the team’s defence will cope without one of the key defenders Erasto Nyoni, who was dropped from the squad after picking an injury.
But already, Stars Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije said they will be able to find a good replacement for Nyoni, whose partnership with Kevin Yondani and Bakari Mwamnyeto has been bearing tangible fruits for the national team.
Asked who will be his (Nyoni) possible replacement, Ndayiragije could not mention him but insisted that he has good players who will equally execute well the defensive responsibilities.
“It’s true that we will miss the service of Nyoni but we have a depth in this squad such that others will emerge to fill his void,” the coach said.
Stars have all what it takes to reach far especially if they will be able to use well home ground advantage by maximising all three points.
Speaking in an interview yesterday from Tunisia, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communication Officer Clifford Ndimbo said all the players are well ahead of the match and are targeting nothing else than victory.
“The team is perfect and as I speak, players are on the field practicing of the important match which is ahead of us.
In short, everything is well here and so far, there are no worries which can make us complain about the game. The cold weather we have has no impact towards the encounter itself,” Ndimbo said.
The country’s envoys are doing everything possible to ensure that they reappear in the upcoming AFCON finals scheduled to unfold in Cameroon where 24 qualified teams from the continent will battle it up for the Africa glory.
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.
Algeria are the current holders of the prestigious title following their narrow 1-0 win over Senegal in this year’s edition hosted by Egypt and will be looking to defend it for the successive time.