Kopunovic credits Tabora United’s win to fighting spirit

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 01:48 PM Mar 05 2024

TABORA United FC secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Coastal Union, putting an end to the club's eight-game winless streak in this season's NBC Premier League.

 The decisive goal came in the third minute of the duel, courtesy of the team’s star forward, Andy Bikoko.

This victory marked a significant turnaround for Tabora United, which had struggled to find success since garnering a 2-1 win over Mtibwa Sugar in December last year.

Tabora United’s head coach Goran Kopunovic, commenting on his club's victory which came after an eight-game winless streak, stated: “Before the game, I attributed our lack of victories to a confidence issue."

The outspoken gaffer revealed: “Today, we secured a win, which is a true reflection of life’s balance. Just as there are bad days, there are good days too.”

“This victory holds immense significance for my team and my players, as it will instill confidence for upcoming matches,” he pointed out.

He continued: "My boys displayed immense fight in this game, executing everything I instructed. This is crucial, and I am incredibly proud of them. I believe this marks a new beginning for my team.”

He maintained: “It is empowering us to continue performing well, even with two upcoming away games against Dodoma Jiji FC and KMC FC at the Azam Complex Stadium.”

This win was a much-needed morale boost for Tabora United, currently positioned ninth with 21 points after 19 games this season, having secured four wins, nine draws, and suffering six losses. 

Coastal Union, on the other hand, experienced the first defeat in six consecutive Premier League matches in the showdown, having previously enjoyed a strong run of form since commanding a 2-1 victory over Singida Fountain Gate FC on November 27 last year.

Coastal Union’s head coach David Ouma expressed his sentiments, stating: “First and foremost, I would like to extend congratulations to Tabora United for their victory in this match. In football, it is crucial to respect your opponent.”

The gaffer noted: “However, it cannot be denied that we had a significant opportunity to level the score at 1-1. Nevertheless, in football, as we are aware, there are three possible outcomes- win, lose, or draw.”

The Kenyan coach, moreover, conveyed his appreciation towards his players, highlighting their commendable feat of going six games without conceding a goal.

He remarked: “As a coach, I view each game as an opportunity for learning. It allows me to identify areas where I may have erred and strive for improvement in subsequent matches.”

Reflecting on the unsuccessful changes made during the second half, the coach acknowledged: “I endeavored to make the right decisions as a coach."

The gaffer said: "However, in football, there comes a time when individual brilliance must shine through for the team to achieve results."

"Nonetheless, it is imperative to recognize that learning from mistakes is fundamental in football, and it provides the foundation for resilience and progress,” he noted.

Despite the loss, Coastal Union maintains a respectable fourth place in the standings, having amassed 26 points from 18 games.

The Tanga club's recent performances have been impressive, having won five out of the six games played at home, with only one draw against Kinondoni Municipal Council FC on February 12 this year.

Looking ahead, Tabora United is set to face Dodoma Jiji FC at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma, while Coastal Union will take on Azam FC at the Azam Complex Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Both matches are scheduled to take place on March 6, promising more exciting football action for fans across Tanzania.

The victory for Tabora United not only boosts the club's confidence but also sets the stage for an exciting second half of the season as the outfit strives to climb higher in the standings.

Coastal Union, despite the setback, remains a formidable opponent and will be looking to bounce back swiftly as the squad aims to cling to a position near the top of the table.