Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amuneke has charged his team to step up and make history by qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) by beating rivals Uganda at home on Sunday.
Concise News reports that The Taifa Stars last featured at the Afcon in 1980 and a win against group winners Uganda in front of their fans will shoot them to Egypt 2019 ahead of Cape Verde and Lesotho.
“The boys know what is expected of them representing their great country and so this is the time for them to assume full responsibility,” declares the former African Footballer of the Year, going by a report by Abuja-based sports journalist, Kola Daniel.
“This is the time to be a man, this is their chance to make history.
“The fans will come out to cheer them to victory.
“I wish I could play this match, but unfortunately I cannot.
“I will be shouting and directing them (from the sidelines) instead.”
Skipper Samatta arrives to complete Taifa Stars camp
Meanwhile, ahead of Sunday’s all-important qualifier against the Cranes in Dar es Salaam, the Taifa Stars trained with complement of their squad on Wednesday.
Amuneke’s wards received a timely boost with the arrival of captain Mbwanna Samatta on Tuesday.
Samatta, who is based in Belgium, arrived yesterday alongside Spanish based duo Farid Musa and Shabban Chilunda to see the players, 25, who were invited by the former Super Eagles player to report to Dar es Salaam for camping.
Tanzania need to better Lesotho’s result to claim second place and seal qualification.
They are currently second in group L with five points, eight behind leaders Uganda and equal on points with third-placed Lesotho. Though on head-to-head record against each other, the latter are ahead.
This means in order for Amuneke’s men to end the 39-year wait since last qualifying for Afcon, they must beat Uganda and hope that fourth-placed Cape Verde force Lesotho to drop points in Praia.
All three sides are still with a chance of qualifying as Lesotho can also qualify with a win away against a Cape Verde side who themselves need a win—and for Uganda to avoid defeat—to reach Egypt.
History does not favour Tanzania against the Cranes though having recorded 10 wins, 15 draws and 26 losses in 51 clashes since 1964.
Samatta, whose scintillating form for Genk in the Belgian First Division and Europa League has seen him hit 29 goals already this campaign, certainly will lead the hunt for goals in a game the Taifa Stars must win to reach the finals of the Africa Nations Cup for only the second time in history.
John Bocco, who has also been in fine form for Simba in the Caf Champions League this season, will be among those Amuneke will entrust for goals on Sunday.