Mkwasa heartbroken as Stars flop

06Jun 2016
Japheth Kazenga
The Guardian
Mkwasa heartbroken as Stars flop

TAIFA Stars’ head coach Charles Mkwasa, has admitted that Egypt has shattered his team’s dreams of qualifying for the 2017 AFCON finals.

Taifa Stars coach Charles Mkwasa

This was after the visitors handed a comprehensive 2-0 defeat in the group G duel of the qualifiers staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Striker Mohamed Salah, who also turns out for AS Roma in Italy’s Serie A, scored in either half for the visitors to see the group G leaders collect un assailable ten points from four matches.

Egypt have consequently, secured a place in the 2017 AFCON finals, to be hosted by Gabon, as Stars and second-placed Nigeria, have one and two points, respectively, from their three matches.
Mkwasa said poor marking cost Stars dearly but also noted the team’s failure to convert a penalty kick early in the second half lowered the players’ morale.
Stars were awarded the penalty after midfielder Himid Mao was brought down by one of Egypt’s defenders inside the box.

Stars’ skipper Mbwana Samatta, however, threw overboard the priceless opportunity as he blasted the ball over crossbar, much to the disappointment of the home fans.

The hosts displayed conviction in the early stages of the game, in which they put Egypt under pressure and created several good chances, which were, however, not fully exploited.

With the visitors’ central defenders having deployed tight marking to keep Stars at bay, the latter resorted to launching attacks down the flanks, in which wingbacks, Mwinyi Haji and Juma Abdul, pressed upfront but the duo failed to execute good crosses on most occasions.

Stars’ defence marshalled by Erasto Nyoni and Aggrey Morris struggled to contain the visitors’ striking force led by Salah, who was a thorn in the former’s flesh for the better part of the game.

Stars will wind up the qualifiers by playing Nigeria at the latter’s venue in a game that will largely be an opportunity for the two teams to restore some pride.