Serengeti Boys in tight corner

19Sep 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Serengeti Boys in tight corner

TANZANIA under 17 national soccer team, The Serengeti Boys, narrowly beat their visiting counterparts from Congo by 3-2 goals in the penultimate match of the African Nations Cup qualifier played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Serengeti Boys striker Asad Ali (R) negotiates his way past Congo Brazzaville defender Kibakila Christ during African Nations Cup U-17 penultimate qualifier match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Sereneti Bioys won 3-2.

The home boys took a massive two goal lead at the end of the opening half when star striker Yohana Nkomola shocked the visitors with quickfire reflex. Nkomola scored twice within two minutes as the visitors were looking dead-frozen two minutes ahead of half time.

The dazzling Nkomola was a real thorn in the flesh of the Congolese defenders as he dribbled with remarkable expertise to score the opener after 42 minutes. Barely two minutes later Nkomola was at it again but this time with a long volley few meters from the corner flag that spectacularly sailed all the way into the net.

Overconfidence and poor defensive tactics prevailed in the Bakari Shime’s boys who found the going tough as the visitors pulled one back through a penalty after 74th minute.
The Congolese boys' efforts eventually paid off after securing a penalty and scored to reduce the margin.

From this point the game turned out to be a see–saw affair but the home boys managed to score the third in closing stages of the game through striker Makamba.

The match was extended to six added minutes and it was at this juncture when the home boys completely lost steam to open wide cracks that gave the visitors an gigantic edge.

Congo pressed hard and made deep penetration into the Serengeti Boys defence to score their highly precious second goal deep into stoppage time.

The losers looked highly determined and would have scored the equaliser as the home boys survived the late scare.

The scoreline has given the Dar boys a slight edge going into the return leg to be played in Brazzaville. The match is expected to be tough and Serengeti Boys are not assured to progress into the Nations final berth going by the resilience displayed by the Congolese boys.

A win or draw of any nature would see the Tanzanian team sail through but this is easily said than done.

Should the Serengeti Boys win the hurdle in Brazzaville, then it will be the first time a Tanzanian teenage team features in the prestigious continental soccer platform to be staged in Madagascar next year.

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