Tanzania Face DR Congo Test In Qualifying Showdown
Tanzania will face a tough test at the start of their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group J campaign when they battle DR Congo at Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on Thursday.
The Taifa Stars, who have never qualified for the World Cup, were last in action in June when they beat Malawi 2-0 in an international friendly, just months after failing to make to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Tanzania goes into the match without five key players including prolific striker John Bocco who have been left out owing to various reasons including injuries.
Other notable players who will miss the match are Bakari Mwamnyeto, Ramadhan Kabwili and Zawadi Mauya who ply their trade for Young Africans and Azam FC’s new signing Edward Manyama.
However, the Taifa Stars are quietly confident they can overcome the Leopards and their coach Kim Poulsen is holding enough belief in his current selection.
Turkey-based striker Mbwana Samatta is expected to lead the hunt for goals with Wydad Casablanca’s Simon Msuva expected to offer good support.
DR Congo, meanwhile, comes into the game looking to shrug off recent sluggish showings. The Leopards failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and they were held to a 1-1 draw by Mali in their last international match.
“We came to some important conclusions after our first two friendlies and we’re trying very hard to make corrections,” said DR Congo coach Hector Cuper.
“The only obstacle to our ambitions is the time factor. We’re working on the squad’s intensity and cohesion, and we’re staying focused on our upcoming opponents.”
DR Congo still look at the favorites in Group J where they will take also Benin and Madagascar.
Following this match, DR Congo will go on to face Benin in Cotonou on 6 September, while Tanzania will host Madagascar in Dar es Salaam on 7 September.