Nizar Khalfan heaps praise on ex-Taifa Stars coach Maximo

12May 2020
Michael Mwebe
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Nizar Khalfan heaps praise on ex-Taifa Stars coach Maximo

FORMER Tanzania international, Nizar Khalfan, has described ex-Taifa Stars head coach, Marcio Maximo, as a very smart and intelligent manager.

Nizar Khalfan

Khalfan worked with Maximo between 2006 and 2010 when the Brazilian tactician was in charge of Taifa Stars.

In a recent interview the attacking midfielder recalled the period he worked with Maximo as an unforgettable experience that he will forever cherish. “Maximo was very much a father figure kind of coach, players enjoyed working with him,” Khalfan said.

“He arrived when our football was on its deathbed, he began to mould the team in his image. He tried to instil the fighting spirit.''

“He motivated us to improve, both as a team and as individuals. He went as far as teaching us how to use various cutlery.''

''He taught us how to handle forks and knives, how to fill our plates during buffets, most of us came from humble backgrounds such as Dar es Salaam's Mbagala Street. He really helped out in this regard,” he added.

The duo reunited at club level, when they worked together at Yanga when Maximo briefly took charge at Jangwani Street outfit in 2014/15.

The Brazilian coach, who was brought by the former Tanzania President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, oversaw the rebuilding of Taifa Stars' tattered public image.

Maximo masterminded some famous victories in his first attempt at African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals' qualification.

Taifa Stars began their 2008 AFCON campaign with a memorable 2-1 victory over highly fancied Burkina Faso.

Taifa Stars then managed a credible away goalless draw with Mozambique to make it four points out of a possible six in the first two qualifying games.

A disappointing 4-0 thrashing by Senegal did not dampen Taifa Stars spirit as they bounced back with a shocking 1-0 away victory over Burkina Faso.

The victory set the country buzzing with excitement and hopes of qualifying for AFCON finals for the second time in their history.

Unfortunately for the side, they missed out on qualifying for the 2008 AFCON finals after they were beaten at home by Mozambique.

A year later Maximo made good on his promise and delivered. He helped Taifa Stars qualify for the then inaugural African Nations Championship (CHAN), which has been designed for home-based players.

It is unlikely Maximo, who finally left Tanzania in early 2015, will ever be forgotten by Tanzanian football fans.

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