FIFA are reported to have rated Tanzania 145th in its latest rankings, which is just 20 places closer to their lowest ever mark of 175 the country attained in 2005. Surely, it is not too much of a shock for supporters of the national team.
There is also a clear slump in public interest that Stars performances have created, especially after the 2012 AFCON qualifiers campaign, which saw the country failing to qualify for the finals held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Such has been the decline in results in competitive matches and the TFF regularly downgraded the team’s friendly international matches to ‘practice matches’ and frequently cancelled friendlies for fear of defeat, leading to further loss of valuable ranking points.
The slump is still a mystery to many, including the team’s head coach Jan Poulsen, himself. Honestly, though, he is not totally to blame. However, Poulsen appears to have lost the respect of the supporters who are likely to take the team in the same way they did during the 2013 AFCON qualifier first leg encounter against Mozambique on February 29 – booing!
We are bound to witness more poisonous atmosphere during a campaign where every slight setback will be jumped on by an angry support base. Even when the ‘win or bust’ ultimatum is given to Poulsen from his employers hardly that will help, but probably accurately it will reflect the mood of the nation towards its football side.
The country football has simply lost track, with no system in place to help the national team coach select the best players and arrange proper build up matches for the team. This big plunge in FIFA rankings pose a big challenge to TFF leaders, who seem to have stopped thinking on how best to guide the national team to glory.
The downward spiral needs to be checked because it demoralises not only supporters from turning out to cheer the national team, but also the sponsors from continuing to bankroll the team.