Taifa Stars in arduous task to end voodoo

03Jun 2016
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Taifa Stars in arduous task to end voodoo

TAIFA Stars will either erase all doubts that the AFCON 2017 qualification dream is dead or should the slimmest of hope can be extended by several days to September after tomorrow game.

Taifa Stars players

Even the most optimistic lot among Taifa Stars supporters know we are on an extremely tough test against the seven-time African Champions, Egypt.

One would be forgiven to think it is a mission impossible for Taifa Stars. It is not a case of simply defeating the Pharaohs, rather the margin of victory determines our fate.

Taifa Stars need a victory of at least three goals. Three unanswered goals will only cancel Egypt victory in the reverse fixture played last year in Alexandria.

Even if Taifa Stars scores three unanswered goals tomorrow it won't to dislodge Egypt who are on seven points mark.

At the risk of sounding pessimistic or being dismissed as unpatriotic, Taifa Stars will need to score at least two unanswered goals away to Nigeria.

Is it not too unrealistic to expect two consecutive victories against two sides that have shared ten AFCON titles between them?

Will Egypt who have shockingly missed the last three AFCON editions be naive enough to fail to complete the easy assignment of getting a draw or avoid a loss of three unanswered goals? Any chance of that?

It is needless to go into the head-to-head statistics that favour the Egyptians, as much as the odds are against Tanzania, football remains the most popular sports in the world because of its unpredictability.

If I’m asked whether Tanzania can defeat Egypt tomorrow, without delay, I would answer in the affirmative. Again, if I’m asked can Tanzania get the three unanswered goals, I would hesitate to answer but since football has thrown enough shocking results, I won't rule out that possibility though I can't bet on it.

Victory is possible. Head coach Charles Mkwasa has moulded a squad capable of shocking the very best in Africa.

A lot of players in the Taifa Stars squad are hungry for success, they know this is a big stage where the right performance can open their door to galore opportunities. Thus, even if the qualification dream might be too unrealistic, the players know they have to be at their best.

Any victory against Egypt, regardless of whether we cling on to our slim chance of qualification or not will still mean a lot of to fans and players.

A victory tomorrow would be the first time we achieve that feat against Egypt. To the fans, it would feel like an end of the Egyptian tyranny against us.

To our players, it would be a psychological liberation that they can do it against the Egyptians. With victory, the next encounter, and we are sure to meet them either at club level or national team, our players will feel more confident of positive results.

For Mkwasa it would be a triumph for local coaches. An inspiration to other local coaches. This would be his moment, his biggest victory pulled at a time when he has gone for a considerable length of time without being paid.

Qualification dream or not, this is could turn out to be a very thrilling encounter for Taifa Stars. A chance for players to market themselves to the more competitive North African leagues.

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