Poulen ponders on 2012 Cup qualifiers

National soccer team, Taifa Stars, head coach Jan Poulsen

National soccer team, Taifa Stars, head coach Jan Poulsen has admitted to have no knowledge of the team’s opponents in the forthcoming 2012 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifiers duel, the Central African Republic (CAR).

Stars will face the CAR in the first leg match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam between March 25 and 27.

Poulsen said he has yet to study the CAR squad but he will do his utmost to complete the assignment given that there is still enough time to do so.

“I have not had the opportunity to study the CAR but I would like to get their videos and see how they play. We still have enough time to study them and prepare well for the match,” he said.

He said Stars face two crucial qualifiers against the CAR both at home and away and he was determined to salvage at least four points out of the two qualifier games.

“We have only one point from the past two qualifiers and now we need at least four points from the next two legs. That should be the target,” said Poulsen.

Stars will then meet the same opponents in the return leg match between June 3 and 5 in Bangui.

Stars currently occupy the third position in Group D of the 2012 AFCON qualifiers having managed one draw and conceded a defeat to collect only one point.

They started the event on a sound note after securing a surprise 1-1 draw away to Algeria before losing 1-0 at home to Morocco in the second match played at the National Stadium last year.

The CAR, in contrast, leads the group with four points from two matches, winning against Algeria in the first match before forcing a crucial away draw with Morocco in their second appearance.

Morocco is at the second position also with four points from one win and a draw, but the CAR leads the group courtesy of superior goal difference.

Algeria is at the base of the standings with one point from a draw and a defeat, trailing Stars for their inferior goal difference.

Poulsen also expressed his satisfaction over Stars’ progress in international matches since he took over, saying the squad has achieved significant success on the basis of its level of performance.

“Last year, we played 10 matches, winning six, drawing two and losing the rest. We scored 10 goals and conceded four and this year we have already played four matches, we have not won any but have managed draw in two games and lost the rest thus, for me, this is not bad,” he said.

“In my observation, the area we need to work on is scoring goals. The players need to work hard on the aspect in training, we need to improve on it,” added Poulsen.

The Danish tactician surprisingly said he was fairly impressed by Stars’ performance in the just ended inaugural Nile Basin soccer championship hosted and won by Egypt.

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