Stars Look to Duel in Namibia

SENIOR national soccer team, Taifa Stars, arrived in Windhoek, Namibia, ahead of their international friendly match against hosts Brave Warriors due at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer, Boniface Wambura confirmed in a statement that a 25-man Stars contingent landed safely in the Namibian capital and the team was upbeat ahead of the encounter.

“The Taifa Stars squad are under the TFF Technical Director Salum Madadi who holds ‘A’ licence coaching certificate, recognized by the Confederation of Africa (CAF),” Wambura said, revealing that the team was booked at Safari Hotel.

The match will usher in new era for Taifa Stars, who will be starting life without Danish coach Kim Poulsen, whose contract was officially terminated last week following mutual agreement between the Dane and TFF.

The exit of Poulsen, who took charge of the Taifa Stars in 2012 from his compatriot and namesake Jan Poulsen, is said to be part of the incumbent TFF leadership’s plans to expedite football development in the country. Consequently, TFF has appointed local coach Madadi as caretaker coach.

He will be assisted by Hafidh Badru from Zanzibar for the Namibia clash. Taifa Stars are without six Yanga players, namely Athuman Idd, David Luhende, Deogratius Munishi, Frank Domayo, Kelvin Yondani and Mrisho Ngassa.

The sextet were dropped by Stars interim coach Madadi to enable them to serve their club fully in the CAF Champions League first round tie against reigning African champions Al Ahly of Egypt.

Meanwhile, hosts Namibia will be without Manfred Starke, Rudolph Bester and Heinrich Isaacks for tomorrow’s fixture.

The three players were part of the 23-man squad called up last week by coach Ricardo Mannetti but according to team manager Cyril Tim Isaacs, Maritzburg United midfielder Heinrich Isaacks withdrew from the team last week with a hamstring injury.

“Initially, Maritzburg United agreed on releasing him as they thought he would shrug off the injury but further scans revealed he needs time to recover as it was worse than they thought, so he is out,” Isaacs explained.

Rudolph Bester, together with club mates Deon Hotto and Chris Katjiukua were released by Golden Arrows as well, but Bester has since opted out of the Warriors team due to a “lack of match fitness”.

“He informed us that he was not ready and he needed more match fitness but suprisingly we noticed that he played over the weekend in his club’s 4-2 defeat at Amatuks. But we cannot force him to come so he is out as well,” Isaacs said.

Hansa Rostock midfielder Manfred Starke is also out after his club deemed his call-up was a bit late: “Mannie was only called up later on after we realised that most of the players the coach wanted were not fit.

Our technical director Klaus Starke spoke to Rostock and the club initially agreed, but they made a u-turn on him and now he is unavailable as well,” Isaacs said.

Controversy also surrounds the arrival of seasoned striker Henrico Botes of Platinum Stars in South Africa. He was initially released but later the club retracted their decision citing a league match on Friday, 7 March.