Mainland Tanzania team returned in Dar es Salaam yesterday afternoon from Kampala where they took part in annual Senior Challenge Cup championship that ended over the weekend.
The team under Danish coach Kim Poulsen was knocked out of the championship at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Uganda by 3-0 goals last Thursday.
Most of the players who formed the team are expected to be in the line-up of coach Poulsen for the United Republic of Tanzania’s national team, Taifa Stars.
Stars are gearing up for an international friendly against African champions Zambia to be played at the National Stadium on December 22.
The Zambians are gearing up for the continental title retention in South Africa next month.
The Stars will be formed with a blend of players from Mainland and Zanzibar as it has always been the case.
The Mainland team that drew attention of most of the home fans after their semi-final progression at the expense of Rwanda suddenly turned out to be a punching bag to the Cranes.
The Mainlanders were also outplayed by blood brothers Zanzibar Heroes who triumphed after penalty shootout having secured a last-gasp equalising goal during the fourth and third placed classification match played hours ahead of the final last Saturday.
Uganda posted their 13th title to dominate the regional football as this year’s edition had attracted 12 teams.
The winners beat Kenya by 2-1 goals in the final as both teams were pooled in the same group with Uganda wining the tournament’s opening mach by a lone goal.
Challenge Cup is the oldest championship in the East and Central African region and this edition was graced by president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou, who seeks re-election in next year’s polls.
Djibouti remained the only absentee in the tournament whose Council of East and Central African Football Association membership fleet is eleven.
Mainland team has won the Challenge Cup title three times in 40 years. Both Mainland and Taifa Stars are strongly backed by the Tanzania Breweries Limited through its Kilimanjaro beer.