NATIONAL team, Taifa Stars Head Coach Etienne Ndayiragije admitted that he will find it hard to pick players, who trade outside the country as he has not seen their recent performance due to Covid-19 outbreak.
The coach is expected to name his new squad on Friday, which will face Burundi in an international friendly match on October 11th at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam before travelling to face Tunisia in November in Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers fixture.
Speaking on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Ndayiragije said the only challenge he will encounter when selecting his army is on those players who are playing professional football outside the country.
“As you know, most players stayed for a long time without playing due to Covid-19 pandemic as such, I have not seen their recent levels of performance and that is the tricky part I see. “But, for those who are trading in the domestic league, I have no problem at all because I have seen them playing and there are major improvement in individual performance of players,” said Ndayiragije.
Asked whether he has identified some prolific strikers to solve the problems of putting the ball behind the net at the senior level, Ndayiragije replied that it is not a big problem since even in other countries, there are players who score many goals in club level but in the senior side, they fail to deliver.
“What I’m looking for, is to create a good pattern of play in the team especially considering the fact that we have limited time to prepare for the upcoming high profile matches,” he noted.
He added: “This is the national team. We select players basing on their recent performances regardless, which team they come from. Nobody is bigger than the team. “There are other players whose performance levels have dropped but that is not a setback at all because many others have upgraded their work rates and are ready to fight for the country,” he said.
However, a popular sports commentator Mwalimu Kashasha said he expects to see many new faces in the upcoming Taifa Stars squad.
“I believe that the coach will make several changes in his new squad because we have seen several players who are playing mature football and deserve to be called but it is all up to him (Ndayiragije) to select, who he thinks will deliver, while in national team colours,” he noted.
Other pundits have also commented that many changes are set to be seen at the backbone of the team as the regular pattern of former center-backs Kelvin Yondani and Erasto Nyoni may no longer be deployed.
Nyoni has lost a regular starting role at Simba, while Yondani left Yanga and has just joined Namungo FC for CAF Confederation Cup duels and he has not been involved in competitive football for quite sometimes now.