Taifa Star need to work hard in AFCON finals- Amunike

08Jun 2019
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
Taifa Star need to work hard in AFCON finals- Amunike

TAIFA Stars' coach, Amunike, has disclosed his players need to be disciplined and work hard if they are to get good results in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, slated to take place in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.

The Nigerian tactician noted he has no doubt about his team's ability to excel in the continental tournament, should the side showcase commitment and winning mentality.

"We are confident that if we believe in ourselves as a team, if we do what is right, if the players are committed, I think we will pull positive results in Egypt, I'm not having any doubt about that" he noted.

Amunike pointed out a provisional squad consisting of 32 players was expected to travel to Egypt yesterday for final preparations for the continental showpiece and the players will be trimmed to 23 who will make the final squad.

"We, though, are also aware that for you to achieve success in life there has to be discipline, dedication, commitment...I'm happy with the players, we are going with 32 players," he disclosed.

The coach noted the team will participate in two international friendly matches in Egypt, in wich the squad will lock horns with Egypt on June 13 and Zimbabwe on June 16.

He noted he and the rest of the technical bench will have another week for assessing the side and thereafter unveil the squad, consisting of 23 players, which will represent the country in the tournament.

The provisional squad is made up of keepers Aishi Manula (Simba), Metacha Mnata (Mbao FC), Suleiman Salula (Malindi), and Aron Kalambo (Prisons), defenders Hassan Kessy (Nkana, Zambia) Vincent Mayombya (Mbao FC), Gadiel Michael (Yanga) and Abdi Banda (Baroka FC, South Africa).

Ally Mtoni (Lipuli FC), Mohamed Hussein (Simba), Aggrey Morris (Azam FC), Erasto Nyoni (Simba), David Mwantika (Azam FC), Claryo Boniface (National U-18 team) and Kelvin Yondani (Yanga) and midfielder Feisal Salum (Yanga) are also in the squad.

Other midfielders, Mudathir Yahya (Azam FC), Shiza Kichuya (ENPPI, Egypt), Farid Mussa (Tenerife, Spain), Simon Msuva (Difaa el Jadida, Morocco), Miraji Athuman (Lipuli FC), Fred Tangalu (Lipuli FC) Himid Mao (Petrojet, Egypt) and Frank Domayo (Azam FC).

Forwards Yahya Zayd (Ismaily, Egypt), Adi Yusuf (Blackpool, England), Kelvin John (National U-17 team), Mbwana Samatta (KRC Genk, Belgium), Thomas Ulimwengu (JS Saoura, Algeria), Shaaban Iddi (Tenerife, Spain), John Bocco (Simba) and Rashid Mandawa (BDF, Botswana) also make the list.

Amunike noted he took performance and discipline into consideration before opting to drop seven players, Jonas Mkude (Simba), Ibrahim Ajibu (Yanga), Ayoub Lyanga (Coastal Union), Kennedy Wilson (Singida United), Kassim Hamisi (Kagera Sugar), Ally Ally (KMC FC) and Shomari Kapombe (Simba) from the provisional squad that is travelling to Egypt.

Taifa Stars are in Group C of the continental showdown with continental big guns, Algeria and Senegal, as well as East Africa neighbours, Kenya.

The Tanzania squad will confront Senegal on June 23 and the former will then play Kenya on June 27. Taifa Stars will wrap up the group stage by confronting Algeria on July 1.

The Egypt showpiece will be the second for Taifa Stars. The side made its maiden appearance in the continental competition in 1980.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Thursday when Taifa Stars received the national flag from the Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Juliana Shonza, the side’s skipper, Mbwana Samatta, assured Tanzanians that they are going to Egypt to compete, not simply making numbers.

He asked all Tanzanians to have faith in the team.

"Many people are writing us off, they say we are underdogs, but let me assure you all that we are ready for the finals and we ready to fight for our country,” he said.

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