Tanzania's emphatic win apart, soccer cleansing in CAF helped us

26Mar 2019
The Guardian
Tanzania's emphatic win apart, soccer cleansing in CAF helped us

 VETERAN Nigerian international Emmanuel Amunike who had the unenviable task of taking Taifa Stars to the African Nations Cup finals set for Cameroon in June was on Sunday night toasted with champagne theatrics  at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam as the Tanzania-Uganda encounter ended with-

a goalless draw between Cape Verde and Lesotho, Tanzania had eight points while the others had five and six points respectively, enabling Tanzania to reach its first finals 18 to 19 years since 1980 finals. It was still cliff hanging up to the last minute, despite the match result.

The performance that Taifa Stars with Amunike put up had parallels with Patrick Aussems at Simba SC whose side lately also qualified for the quarter finals despite having the worst away results in its group with Al Ahly, JS Saoura and AS Vita. Tanzania won its home match with Cape Verde, reversing a 0-3 loss to a 2-0 win which sort of explains Sunday's encounter, as Uganda won 1-0 against Cape Verde both at home and away encounters.  In that case Uganda softened up somewhat because it had already qualified with 13 points, while Tanzania could only reach eight after its home victory against Uganda. Had either side won in Cape Verde we would be ousted.

This outcome means that 2019 is a good year for Tanzanian football, something that was perhaps on the radar, horizon, after our youngster side Serengeti Boys reached the final of the AFCON U-17 tournament, and have been close to reaching that point in the subsequent tourney. It is hard to say there is a contribution of previous U-17 players, as the U-21 and U-23 contests were usually closer to the senior national team than the youngsters' tournaments. Still many such players get places in foreign clubs and Taifa Stars managers and coaches here are starting to make call ups of such players, with the current squad having more foreign based players than earlier.

The fact that no winner was recorded in the Cape Verde -Lesotho match would suggest in cynical terms that no collaborative terms could be arranged in advance, for instance by the 80th minute when it was clear that Taifa Stars would win over Uganda. Despite flashes of brilliance, the Cranes were certainly not in a do or die battle as their qualification was already sealed, despite that it clearly was under pressure to defend the national team colours in a non-decisive encounter. Still had officials on either side 'talked business,' the team that was better placed could oil its way to qualification but these days things are tough: even walls hear, not just mobile phones.

That no deal could be arranged between Lesotho and Cape Verde, despite intense wish to qualify and the easy modality of doing that, shows that the war against corruption is making headway in Africa. No one is sure if their mobile phone conversation won't be tapped or monitored, and money sent to the mobile phone of the losing country won't be discovered and all is put on facebook, etc. Fear is professionalising African football.


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