NATIONAL senior football team, Taifa Stars Head Coach, Etienne Ndayiragije has spoken out about the future of the two key players, who have not been included in the team recently.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Burundian tactician said goalkeeper, Aishi Manula and right wing back, cum midfielder Shomari Kapombe are still needed and their contribution was vital in the team.
The Burundian tactician, who has recently guided Tanzania into second Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) finals to be held next year in Cameroon, cleared the air on the issue of Manula’s chances of returning to national team colours.
Manula has been sideline from the national team in several occasions after serving the team as the first choice goalkeeper for the past five years.
Ndayiragije has pointed out clearly that the Simba shot stopper was left out due to injury and not because of his performance.
“When I was first appointed as Taifa Stars interim head coach, I summoned Manula in my squad but he later personally approached me asking to be released due to fatigue and injury. I agreed because health is vital for any player’s career,” he said.
Since that time, Ndayiragije said, Manula was left from the squad so as to give him time to heal and get back to his full fitness. He said the door was still open for Manula to return into the national squad.
Ndayiragije said that the technical bench has been monitoring the goalkeeper’s progress and they are now convinced that he has regained his fitness and can be recalled to serve the team in the coming assignments.
On the other hand, Ndayiragije also spoke about Kapombe’s early retirement from serving the national team.
The Burundian tactician praised the defender / midfielder‘s unique ability and urged him to reconsider his decision.
Ndairagije disclosed that he was personally shocked by Kapombe’s decision and that the squad misses the player’s skills. “Kapombe is among the best players in the country.
I can say, he is one of the midfielder who are able to serve timely assists to strikers and that is what the team is missing currently, making things hard to Mbwana Samatta and Simon Msuva,” he noted.
“We really miss his service…his experience and qualities are still very much needed and vital for the team, we will be pleased if he (Kapombe) makes about-turn and come out of his premature retirement,” Ndayiragije said.
To ensure the player is back in serving the national team, Ndayiragije said he is going to make some efforts to talk to him and speak to people close to Kapombe, to see if they can convince him to make a U-turn.
Kapombe announced his pre-mature retirement in serving the national team due to health reasons, citing that he suffered from a series on injuries, which saw him missing most of the last season league for his club as well national team assignments.
However, the player was open for a return, saying that he will be happy to return into the national squad after he totally recovered from injuries.
This means that Ndayiragije’s call for his return in the team is likely to be welcomed.
Kapombe has now regained his full fitness and featuring for his club Simba in the Mainland Premier League games.