Well done Taifa Stars   

15Sep 2021
Lloyd Elipokea
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Well done Taifa Stars   

DESPITE the encounter being a distinctly nervy affair, the Taifa Stars finally came good to carry the day 3-2 in a gladiatorial Qatar World Cup qualifier against those pesky and astonishingly competitive Madagascans.

Taifa Stars' players (L-R) Muzamiru Yassin, Feisal Salum, Novatus Dismas, and Simon Msuva, jubilate after Salum had scored when the squad faced Madagascar in African qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup's tie, which took place in Dar es Salaam recently. Taifa Stars won 3-2. PHOTO: TFF

Indeed, it was a clash that saw us all nail-biting furiously, especially when unheralded Madagascar drew level 2-2 after initially trailing 2-0.

Blissfully though, the Taifa Stars steadied the ship and regained their poise as well as composure to emerge as 3-2 winners of a qualifier that saw us all collectively heave a huge sigh of relief once the whistle signaling full-time was blown.

The smashing result propelled the Taifa Stars to the apex of Group J and clearly, the hard-earned triumph has put many of us in infectious confident mode.

Many quarters, for instance, have even taken to waxing bullishly about the Taifa Stars’ suddenly favorable prospects of sealing their place at the quadrennial World Cup next year, which would be an irrefutable and historic national sporting milestone.

However, despite the result and the resultant national mood of optimism, a few blemishes have been discerned which urgently require attention lest our world cup dream be derailed.

One such weakness that needs to be swiftly tackled lies in the Stars’ rearguard.

Indeed, after doing brilliantly to jump out 2-0 in front, the Taifa Stars disquietingly nearly pushed the self-destruct button by letting down their guard and allowing Madagascar to forge inroads back into the match.

That was almost a catastrophic, costly, and self-inflicted wound. So, according to the consensus, the Stars’ defense will have to go to great lengths to become more watertight from now onwards.

Apart from that, there is the sober and weighty challenge of confronting our next opponents Benin, who are already breathing down our necks in second place in Group J.

There is no disputing the bald truth that facing Benin will likely present us with our biggest conundrum encountered thus far in the qualifiers.

So, perchance a fitting recipe for success in that dicey clash would be to cease with the braggadocio and instead engage in a practice, practice, and yet even more practice, which would stand us in good stead.

Let us segue seamlessly now to domestic boxing, which despite the sublime exertions of Hassan Mwakinyo, could do with loads of greater support.

Indeed, it is an ill-kept secret on the home front that there is a dire lack of professional boxing coaches in the country.

Thankfully though, this hasn’t put the wind out of the sails of local boxers as the somewhat meteoric ascent of Mwakinyo illustrates.

However, this critical unavailability of professional boxing coaches will only serve to impede this beloved national sport going forward.

Thus, one hopes that those figures at the helm of domestic boxing will rapidly move to address this malaise as time wears on.

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