Stars ready to face `Elephants`

Taifa Stars

Taifa Stars are up for a friendly encounter with Cote d’Ivoire national soccer team, the Elephants, tomorrow at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The visiting star-studded team was expected to jet into the country yesterday evening, but had not arrived by the time of going to press.

The Ivorian players will sample what Tanzania has to offer after they accepted TFF’s invitation, a move largely aimed at gauging Stars’ prowess against one of the continent’s highly rated football nations.

During their weeklong stay in the country, they will also play Rwanda Stars who have been reduced to mere spectators at international football tournaments after bowing out of the African Nations and World Cup qualifiers. The Maximo boys have played eleven international matches that included three competitive CHAN championships in Cote d’Ivoire, winning three, drawing in some and losing the rest.

The Ivorians will be seeking to maintain their status as the second best side in the continent in terms of ranking and prowess of qualifying for the World Cup twice in a row.

It’s not a good yardstick for the Elephants but they would not like to lose a match in their build up for the Nations Cup finals in Angola that kicks off next week.

The Elephants will be the third high profile team from West Africa after Ghana and Cameroon to visit the country since 2008.

Goalkeepers: Boubakary Barry (Lokeren, Belgium), Aristide Zogbo (Makabi Netanya, Israel), Vincent De and Paul Angban of Asec Mimosas.

Defenders: Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Guy Demel (SV Hamburg), Souleman Bamba (Hibernian, Scotland), and Benjamin Angoua Brou (Kipset Honvad, Hungary).

Others are Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Abdoulaye Meite (West Bromwich, Albion) Siaka Tiene (Valenciene, France).

Midfielders: Yahya Toure (Barcelona), Didier Zokora (Sevilla), Emmanuel Kouamatien Kone (International Curtea, Romania), Cheik Ismael Tiote (FC Twenty, Holland), Emerse Fae (Nice) and Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (AS Monaco).

The list also has strikers Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Solomon Kalou (Chelsea), Bakari Kone (Marseille), Kadel Keita (Galatasaray) Haruna Dindane (Portsmouth) and Gervais Yao Kouassi (Lille).

The team’s head coach is Vahid Halilhodzic from Bosnia.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY

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