Taifa Stars win an uplift but it should not alter team alertness

18Nov 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Taifa Stars win an uplift but it should not alter team alertness

SOCCER fans in Dar es Salaam who thronged the National Stadium to see the Taifa Stars encounter with Equatorial Guinea were elated by the last minute second goal that ended the tension and moaning after the regular 90 minutes ended at one all score line.

As a matter of fact the match was a pain for around two thirds of the game as the visitors took the lead in 15 minutes through Pedro Obiang, and it wasn’t before the 68th minute, 23 minutes after the resumption of play, that midfielder Simon Msuva equalized. All that time Taifa Stars fans were speechless or groaning, knowing that if the score reached 0-2 all would be lost.

Nothing was in actual fact lost except perhaps the patience with observers and analysts, and they would have had much more to say had the score remained stuck at one all.

It was the visiting side that had some problems with the equalizer as it came out of muscled play at the goalmouth, and techniques that are definitely fair as the referee did not signal a foul and a penalty. The goal and plenty of the play inside had hallmarks of a rather rough game, tackling and marking, which isn’t surprising but not really elegant.

At the end of the game it was clear that Taifa Stars had a definite advantage in their next matches, and especially one with the visitors at Malabo, where the coach Sebastian Migne intends to be really mean with Taifa Stars when they pay a return visit. And as results in competitions at the end of last season and the start of this championship season show, when a team is in definite advantage it tends to slacken in the next encounter - and that provides a fillip for the presumed underdogs to go for the killing.

That is an issue when the side goes to Malabo, and even before that, they may slacken against well drilled Libya.

The last group match for the Libyans was an encounter with much fancied Tunisia, with Libyans playing in Tunisia as home ground owing to unfinished political upheaval back home.

The fact that Tunisia 4-1 does not imply that Libya are a pushover, as those days are over, and noticeably Libya also made it to the Africa Cup of Nations past finals in Egypt, so they are force to reckon with.

It thus implies that Taifa Stars should not bask in the praise for the hard fighting in the National Stadium event, prepare for more.

These worries aside, it is evidently right for Taifa Stars fans and the country at large to marvel at our ability to teach some soccer lessons to visitors, not only here but also at times in their own backyards, as with Kenya and Sudan.

Much less than our chronic fear of Egyptian sides, these two national sides used to throw bits of mud at our side to come back home early in continental tournaments, but lately we have had a few moments of both fun and something close to glory.

We are not yet in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals potential side seemingly, while others have gone all the way to the top and down again to become another struggling side like Zambia, Mali, Congo DRC, Sudan, Kenya and others. Such is soccer.

Top Stories