Jan Poulsen faces uphill assignment

By Lloyd Elipokea
In a few weeks time, the new Taifa Stars’ coach, Jan Borge Poulsen, is expected to assume the helm of the national football team.
In spite of the huge strides recorded under the former tactician, Marcio Maximo, it is an incontrovertible fact that the incoming Danish coach faces a massive challenge to improve the fortunes of this football-mad country on the global stage.
Indeed, the unpalatable fact that Tanzania failed to qualify for the CHAN finals earlier this year and also recently slipped down the FIFA rankings, illustrates that Poulsen will have a lot on his plate.
Add to that a tough African Nations Cup Qualifying campaign against the likes of Algeria and Morocco, and one begins to get the picture that the honeymoon might quickly end soon after the Dane reports for duty.
However, there are a few stellar achievements which Poulsen can build upon once he assumes office. For example, the heartening fact that more Tanzanian players are gradually making their way abroad to play professional football ought to bolster the strengths of the Taifa Stars as they prepare to mount a hopefully successful African Nations Cup Qualifying campaign.
In addition, the emphasis of the former coach, Marcio Maximo on youth development has firmly entrenched this idea in the minds of football administrators in this country with amazing results.
Certainly, where once our youth development programmes were arguably non-existent, we now have the annual Copa Coca Cola championship which is specifically designed for Under 17 players. And when one considers that tournaments such as the Union league and FA cup will be revived soon, Poulsen then ought to have a deep pool of talent from which to choose players for the national team.
Thus, all in all, the picture does not entirely look bleak and grim for Poulsen’s spell as Taifa Stars’ coach.
Nevertheless, he will have to call upon all his fortitude and summon up every ounce of patience that he has to successfully discharge his duties as the wananchi are a demanding football public.
Having said this though, the hope is that he will succeed in his task of taking Tanzania to stratospheric heights in the beautiful game. And of course it is a given that we wish him well.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports
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