D-Day for Taifa Stars dawns today

By Lloyd Elipokea , The Guardian
Published at 06:00 AM Jun 11 2024
Taifa Stars’ players during a training session at Dola Hill stadium in Ndola, Zambia on Sunday. Photo: Courtesy of TFFD-Day for Taifa Stars dawns today
Photo: Taifa Stars
Taifa Stars’ players during a training session at Dola Hill stadium in Ndola, Zambia on Sunday. Photo: Courtesy of TFFD-Day for Taifa Stars dawns today

TODAY, the Taifa Stars will go head-to-head with Zambia in a high stakes, all-important football contest that is part of the FIFA 2026 World Cup African Qualifiers.

It should be noted here that the Taifa Stars have never ever qualified for the football World Cup as that lofty goal has perennially proven to be a bridge too far for our beloved national football team.

Regarding our World Cup hopes, the Taifa Stars are perilously in fourth place in Group E, which is made up of to wit: titans Morocco, traditional contenders Zambia, small fry Niger and the ever tricky the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thus far, the Stars have played two games in Group E. The Stars’ opening Group E football duel saw them sink lightweights Niger 1-0 and in their second qualifier, the Taifa Stars distressingly suffered a 2-0 defeat to giants Morocco.

As a result, the Taifa Stars have bagged only three points from two matches, which just goes to underscore the sheer gravity of their qualifier against Zambia on the latter’s home turf today.

It is hoped then that the Taifa Stars will be on the front foot right from the get-go in their consequential World Cup qualifier against Zambia today and furthermore, that the Stars will ultimately prevail in this hugely weighty battle.

Sticking with football, all Tanzanians are walking with a definite spring in their step following the heartening news that the Tanzanian teenage sensation Kelvin John has now joined the Danish side Aalborg BK from his previous club KRC Genk of Belgium.

Regarded as a precociously gifted forward, John has found it extremely challenging to play regularly for his previous football outfit Genk, which was the source of his motivation to move to Aalborg BK.

One hopes then that John will be able to leave his mark on Danish football once the new 2024/25 football season comes round.

Dear Reader, at the risk of repeatedly commenting on the same matter ad nauseam, this writer would nevertheless still like to revisit the sorry state of our Olympic preparations, which is deeply worrying.

Indeed, with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games set to begin in late July, many Tanzanians must be wondering when our contingent of Paris-bound sportsmen and sportswomen will set up a training camp for the quadrennial, one-of-a-kind festival of sports.

It is utterly frustrating to note that we are likely to engage in eleventh hour preparations for the Paris Olympics, which is in stark contrast to countless other nations, who started their preparations years ago.

Anyway, there is no use in sobbing over spilt milk. And, all we can do as Tanzanians is to hope that a few of our athletes will prove to be a cut above the rest once the summer games thrillingly commence.

Let us now return to football where there is certainly massive and unbridled jubilation on Jangwani Street following Yanga’s impressive league title triumph and most recently their Federation Cup victory.

In what was the clearest sign of their supremacy on the domestic football scene, Yanga clinched both the league and Federation Cup for the third consecutive time last season.

It is patently obvious then that Yanga’s rivals will have to be on top of their game if their efforts to bring about the Jangwani Street side’s downfall next season are to bear fruit.