Tanzania's ongoing preparations for Sunday's must win 2019 Africa Cup Nations Qualifier received a timely boost with the arrival of captain Mbwanna Samatta yesterday.
Samatta, who is based in Belgium, arrived yesterday alongside Spanish based duo Farid Musa and Shabban Chilunda to see the full complement of players, 25, who were invited by Emmanuel Amunike report to Dar es Salaam for camp.
The Tiafa Stars will host Uganda, who have already qualified for the continental spectacle, at the National Stadium on Sunday needing to better Lesotho’s result to claim second place and seal qualification.
Wachezaji wa timu ya Taifa "Taifa Stars" wakiwa kwenye mazoezi kujiandaa na mchezo dhidi ya Uganda kutafuta tiketi ya kucheza Fainali za Afrika utakaochezwa Jumapili Machi 24,2019 Uwanja wa Taifa @taifastars_ pic.twitter.com/RTvVQsslGe— TFF TANZANIA (@Tanfootball) March 19, 2019
They are currently second in group L with five points, eight behind leaders Uganda and equal on points with third-placed Lesotho. Though on head-to-head record against each other, the latter are ahead.
This means that in order for Amunike's men to end the 39-year wait since last qualifying for Afcon, they must beat Uganda and hope that fourth-placed Cape Verde force Lesotho to drop points in Praia.
All three sides are still with a chance of qualifying as Lesotho can also qualify with a win away against a Cape Verde side who themselves need a win—and for Uganda to avoid defeat—to reach Egypt.
Wachezaji wa timu ya Taifa "Taifa Stars" Gadiel Michael na Vicent Philipo wakiwa kwenye mazoezi kujiandaa na mchezo dhidi ya Uganda kutafuta tiketi ya kucheza Fainali za Afrika utakaochezwa Jumamosi Machi 24,2019 Uwanja wa Taifa @TaifaStars_ pic.twitter.com/hYpozp6YAR— TAIFA STARS (@TaifaStars_) March 18, 2019
History does not favour Tanzania against the Cranes though having recorded 10 wins, 15 draws and 26 losses in 51 clashes since 1964.
Samatta, whose scintillating form for Genk in the Belgian First Division and Europa League has seen him hit 29 goals already this campaign certainly will lead the hunt for goals in a game the Taifa Stars must win to reach the finals of the Africa Nations Cup for only the second time in history.
John Bocco, who has also been in fine form for Simba in the Caf Champions League, will be amongst those Amunike will entrust for goals on Sunday.