Stars off to Algiers

Taifa Stars contingent of 19 players and nine officials are expected to board an Algiers’-bound flight via Nairobi and Qatar ahead of their 2012 African Nations Cup qualifier opener against Algeria on Friday.

The team’s newly appointed coach Jan Poulsen said he is confident of his players and hope for a successful qualifier opener to stun their hosts.

Stars, which have failed to repeat their only successful feat in 1980, are traveling to Algeria with a heavy burden to meet satisfaction of the home fans.

This will be Poulsen’s maiden attempt in a competitive encounter since his arrival exactly one month ago to take the reigns of Brazilian Marcio Maximo.

Maximo failed to meet the home fans quest for high-profile qualifiers in his four year’s of coaching career that eventually prompted criticism from the public in connection with players’ selection criteria and experimental line-ups.

Though Poulsen might be spared of criticism after staying with the team for barely a month, a draw with Algeria would be highly appreciated as victory stands to be a bonus.

Poulsen named the players who will travel to Algiers as goalkeepers Shaaban Kado and Jackson Chove, defenders Aggrey Morris, Stephano Mwasika, Nadir Haroub, Idrissa Rajab, Erasto Nyoni, Salum Kanoni and skipper Shadrack Nsajigwa.

Others are midfielders Abdi Kassim, Shaaban Nditi, Nurdin Bakari, Jabir Aziz, Nizar Khalfan, Henry Joseph and Suleiman Kassim. Strikers are Mussa Hassan, Mrisho Ngassa and Daniel Mrwanda.

Stars have Morocco and Central African Republic in their qualifying group.

The team will be under Brassi Kiondo, a delegation head who happens to be a member of the TFF executive committee.

Others in the line up for the Algiers trip are team manager Leopold Mukebezi, assistant coach Silvestre Marsh, kit manager Fred Chimela, team physician Mwanandi Mwakemwa and ZFA representative Mzee Zam Ali.

The match would possibly be played under floodlights as Algeria with high percentage of Muslim community in their population are fasting Ramadhan.

The last time the two teams met in such a qualifier was in 1993.

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