Last weekend, Taifa Stars’ hopes of qualifying for their first African Nations Cup (Afcon ) since 1980 were dashed as they lost 3-1 to Morocco in an all important Group D qualifier in Marrakech.
The failure counts as the first major one for coach Jan Poulsen, who endeared himself to the public last year by steering his charges to win the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup, only a short time after he had taken up his duties.
While this must rank as a bitter disappointment for the Danish coach, his misery must be compounded by the fact that reports suggest the country’s former coach, Brazilian Marcio Maximo, is willing to make a comeback in light of last weekend’s setback.
I for one hope that we give Poulsen more time to implement his plans of improving Tanzanian football in a bid to achieve success.
Indeed, one of the features of Maximo’s spell as Taifa Stars’ coach was that the media, the fans and other quarters of football in the country failed to show him enough patience even though admittedly, his policy of chopping and changing the team was highly questionable.
However, it is clear that whoever our coach is in the coming years will have arduous challenges to contend with.
For one thing, there is the small matter of the 2014 world cup qualifying tournament in which Stars have been drawn in an especially difficult group.
Considering our present predicament, we do not have the luxury of dilly-dallying on preparation as has been our custom in the past.
While we are at it, it would also be helpful to consider the future and invest in our young stars, who will form the back bone of the national teams of tomorrow.
Thus, although the failure to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup stands as a cruel blow to Tanzanian football, it is important that we learn lessons from it and redouble our efforts to fulfill our promise in the beautiful game.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports