TANZANIA coach Emmanuel Amunike has challenged the Taifa Stars players to engrave their names in the history books by beating Uganda to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations today.
Tanzania needs a win to end a 38-year wait since their last participation at the continental spectacle and Amunike has impelled his charges to go on and make their own history.
“This will be the most important match for Tanzania in recent times,” he said while addressing the media in Dar es Salaam.
“It will be a match of moments. I call for calmness because every side will get their chances.
“I call upon the Tanzanians to back behind the team at all times. Even when we are low, we shall rise up.”
I have the hope that we shall win the game.”
Amuneke set to give Tanzania first AFCON ticket in 40 yrs
The qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations comes to a close this week with 24 matches on the card. Already, 14 of the teams are already known while the remaining 10 slots will be filled by the end of the week.
Two of the matches on Sunday are crucial. They are the two Group L matches and both are crucial in the shaping of the 24-team format tournament in Egypt. Cape Verde takes on Lesotho while Tanzania host Uganda. Cape Verde Island will host Lesotho in Praïa in a must win encounter while Tanzania are in similar situation when they later in the day host Uganda.
The match in Dar Es Salaam holds great significance. Nigeria’s Emmanuel Amuneke may qualify Tanzania for the country’s first Africa Cup of Nations in 40 years since last qualifying for the 1980 edition in 1979.
Tanzania will be hoping to beat Uganda while expecting that Lesotho will not upset Cape Verde at home. If the Tanzanian team beats the already qualified Uganda tomorrow in a Group L duel, it will be a major achievement as Taifa Stars of Tanzania will qualify.
Incidentally, it was in Nigeria in 1980 that Tanzania last played in the Africa Cup of Nation’s tournament. Now a Nigerian is set to get the country back into the tournament.
Already, Uganda has picked one of the two tickets of the group in the previous match day after a 1-0 defeat of Cape Verde.
The qualification was also a landmark for Uganda who also experienced a 38 year wait before qualifying two years ago. Before their qualification for the 2017 tournament, Uganda last qualified in 1978 when they beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-finals.
The Ugandans have now qualified for back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1974 and 1976.
Tanzania football has been on the rise since Emmanuel Amuneke took charge in August last year and hopes to crown his efforts with a historic qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Another match that will be of interest is that of Libya hosting South Africa in Tunisia. Libya, forced to play home matches outside its territory owing to political instability may upstage initial Group E frontrunners, South Africa.
Should that happens, the Africa Cup of Nations enters a new phase as it will be the first in which all the five North African countries will be participating.
Already, Egypt, the hosts, qualified even before getting the hosting rights. Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are also through to the finals.