Tanzania national soccer team, Taifa Stars, have arrived in Abidjan safely but without two players who were offloaded from the flight at eleventh hour due to injuries.
The players who were left behind are defender Said Nassor and midfielder Haruna Moshi who sustained injuries during the final training session ahead of the Abidjan trip.
The Danish coach Kim Poulsen had to chop them from the final squad of 23 players as he insisted that he needs players with full fitness for the qualifier duel tomorrow.
The number of casualties from the team has so far doubled from two to four following the earlier drop offs.
Before Moshi and Nassor, Yanga midfielder Nurdin Bakari and TP Mazembe striker Thomas Ulimwengu were the first to be dropped due to lack of fitness.
The team has 21 players who are fit enough, according to report from the physician.
The four players, who have been attending training sessions with the rest of the players before sustaining injuries, are expected to join their colleagues once they return from Abidjan early next week.
Stars have a busy schedule as they have barely a week before hosting Gambia at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on June 10.
The team has to fly to Mozambique thereafter to play a return leg tie against Mozambique in the African nations cup qualifier series lined up for South Africa next year.
Coach Poulsen declined to say whether the four players will be substituted should they not recover in time.
While Stars meet Cote d’Ivoire tomorrow, Gambia and Morocco have their first leg match as well.
Tomorrow’s match will be Poulsen’s first competitive since he took over from namesake Jan whose two-year contract was cut shirt by three months.
Poulsen led the team into his first match while in charge against Malawi last week as the teams ended with a score line of barren draw.
The match against Malawi was the only build up for the Tanzanian team before playing the opening World Cup qualifier match against the Ivorians tomorrow.
Stars, who are increasingly plunging deep into the doldrums of the FIFA rankings, are completely rank outsider against the well drilled host tomorrow.
Confident as they are, Stars have to work above the call of duty to shake the hosts who are seasoned campaigners in high profile global soccer, the World Cup.
Only five teams from the African continent would qualify to play in the championship to be staged in Brazil for the second time in history since inauguration in 1930.
Five-time record World Cup winners Brazil have never won the title at their won backyard with the biggest disappointment during the 1950 finals after being subdued by unfancied Uruguay.