Yanga keeper, defender eye World Cup qualifiers' feat

19Nov 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Yanga keeper, defender eye World Cup qualifiers' feat

YANGA players, goalkeeper Djigui Diarra and fullback Djuma Shaban, will be on the verge of setting history, should their respective countries' squads book a place in the 2022 World Cup finals.

Djigui Diarra. PHOTO: COURTESY OF YANGA

Diarra is turning out for Mali national team, Djuma features for DR Congo national team, with both squads progressing to African Qualifiers 2022 World Cup third round.

They will become the footballers from Tanzania's NBC Premier League that are bound for the World Cup finals if their respective countries' squads excel in the continental event's third round.

Participating in the World Cup finals while playing in the NBC Premier League stands to be a feat that has yet to be achieved.

Diarra is likely to travel to Qatar, if Mali qualifies for the World Cup finals, despite not getting a chance to start in the squad.

The shot-stopper has been one of three goalkeepers that head coach Mohamed Magassouba has been calling up for his squad.

Ibrahim Mounkoro, who plays for TP Mazembe of DR Congo, is Mali's first-choice goalkeeper, while the team's second-choice keeper is Ismael Diawara, who plays professional football for Malmo in Sweden.

In the last six Group E matches of World Cup qualifiers that Mali took part in, shot-stopper Mounkoro played in five matches while Diawara stood between the sticks in one match, with Diarra restricted to bench.

Except for Diarra, Djuma could also get a chance to go to the World Cup finals if DR Congo will be among the five African teams that will advance to the finals.

However, the chances are slim for Djuma as he has not played regularly in the DR Congo squad, unlike Diarra.

DR Congo's coach Hector Cuper has been keen to make the most of defender Mukoko Amale, who plays for Morocco's Difaa El Jadida.

However, the NBC Premier League has one player, who has played in the World Cup, although he participated in the tournament as he had not featured in the top flight while playing in World Cup.

The footballer, keeper Daniel Agyei, was in Ghana's national squad that participated in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa and was registered and served Simba SC in the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Former Simba SC coach and star, Abdallah Kibadeni, said that the presence of such players like Diarra adds value to NBC Premier League.

"A foreign player must have qualities which could not be likened to the locals', so when you see a player play in the Tanzanian league and he is called up to a prominent national soccer team like Mali signifies that our league has developed."

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