Tanzania national soccer team (Taifa Stars) players and officials board Abidjan-bound flight today ahead of their first leg tie of the 2014 World Cup qualifier against their hosts to be played on Saturday.
A total of 23 players and nine officials are on board the flight for the uncertain mission to qualify for the world’s premier football championships for national teams.
The deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Amos Makala, presided the flagging off ceremony held at the Tanzania Football Federation’s premise in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
He urged players to be committed and play impressively and aggressively to defend the nation.
The brief flagging off ceremony was also attended by the chairman of National Sports Council, Dioniz Malinzi, football federation’s president Leodegar Tenga and Tanzania Breweries brand manager for the Kilimanjaro beer, George Kavishe.
The match is scheduled to be played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan kicking off at 20:00 hours on Saturday.
The confederation of African Football has picked Tunisians Slim Jedidi as central referee and will be assisted by Bechir Hassani as the first linesman while Egyptian Sherif Hassan is the other linesman.
Another Tunisian Youssef Essrayri is a standby referee.
Referees assessor is Algerian Rachid Medjiba while Saleh Issa Mahamat from Chad becomes the match commissioner.
The team is expected to board a return flight on June 5 for camping ahead of another crucial qualifier tie at home to Gambia at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on June 10.
Stars players lined up for the trip are skipper Juma Kaseja and his assistant Aggrey Morris, Mwadini Ally, Deogratius Munishi, Nassor Masoud, Amir Maftah, Erasto Nyoni, Kelvin Yondani, Waziri Salum, Shomari Kapombe and Juma Nyoso.
Others are Jonas Mkude, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Salum Abubakar, Shabani Nditi, Edward Christopher, Mrisho Ngasa, Frank Domayo, Mbwana Samata, Ramadhan Singano, Simon Msuva, Haruna Moshi and John Bocco.
The team has left behind TP Mazembe striker Thomas Ulimwengu and Yanga midfielder Nurdin Bakari.
Officials accompanying the team include head coach Kim Poulsen and his assistant Sylvester Marsh, goalkeeper’s coach Juma Pondamali, team manager Leopold Mukebezi, physician Juma Mwankemwa, physiotherapist Frank Mhonda and kit manager Alfred Chimela.
TFF’s member of the executive committee Crescentius Magori whose immediate deputy is Zanzibar Football Association’s (ZFA) vice-president Haji Ameir Haji.
Gambia will be playing against Morocco in another fixture of the group during the same weekend.