Taifa Stars must tread warily in their tricky 2025 AFCON qualifying group

By Lloyd Elipokea , The Guardian
Published at 06:00 AM Jul 09 2024
Abdulrazak Hamza
Photo: Courtesy of Simba
Abdulrazak Hamza

THE qualifying groups for the 2025 AFCON Finals were revealed lately and it is highly likely that there was a collective sigh of relief among all Tanzanians over the fact that the Taifa Stars evaded being drawn in a ‘Group of Death’.

Having said that though, it is still nevertheless vital that the Taifa Stars must be wary of their opponents in Group H, which are to wit: the once-unbeatable DR Congo, the ever-tricky Guinea and the ambitious Ethiopia.

Indeed, our matchups against our fellow Group H opponents are near-certain to be enormous battles as all four teams have set their sights on qualifying for next year’s AFCON Finals.

 For our part, the Taifa Stars would like to qualify for next year’s AFCON Finals for the second time in a row following our creditable overall performance at the 2023 AFCON Finals.

It should be noted here that after suffering a 3-0 drubbing by Morocco in their opening football contest at the 2023 AFCON Finals, the Taifa Stars bounced back strongly to earn draws against both Zambia and the DR Congo in their remaining group matches.

Granted, the Taifa Stars failed to advance to the knockout stage following the completion of group phase play at the 2023 AFCON Finals.

However, the Stars returned home with their heads held high as they were not overly humiliated at the 2023 AFCON Finals.

Actually, they might have even claimed a victory if lady-luck had not so cruelly deserted them.

In light of their overall encouraging performance at the 2023 AFCON Finals, the Taifa Stars will head into the 2025 AFCON Qualifiers with a sea of unbridled Tanzanian football fans expecting them to deliver the goods.

Axiomatically then, it is hoped that the Taifa Stars can embark upon an ultimately successful quest to advance to next year’s AFCON Finals once the qualifiers get underway later this year.

Let us now ponder on Simba SC’s recent new signings, which are aimed at helping the local football colossus to rebuild before next season dawns.

Indeed, last season was a clearly unusual campaign for Simba SC as the Msimbazi Street-based outfit was forced to endure a trophy-less season, which was hugely uncharacteristic of the renowned football giants.

Late last week, Simba signed the promising center-back Abdulrazak Hamza from South African titans Supersport United (pictured), which means that the erstwhile national champions have now acquired the services of a host of new players.

This quintet of new signings includes the ex-Coastal Union center-back Lameck Lawi, and the Ivorian attacking midfielder Jean Charles Ahoua among others.

Still smarting from their untypically unsuccessful campaign last season, it appears that Simba is champing at the bit to rapidly return to the summit of local football.

And, with Young Africans expected to be in the running again for the trophies that will be up for grabs next season, the stage seems set then for what should be an entertaining, fascinating campaign full of breathtaking football action.