TP Mazembe duo to miss Stars tie

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TWO key Tanzania national football team strikers Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu could miss Sunday’s 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations first round, second leg qualifier against Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

The pair, who play for Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe, did not take part in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Malawi and it is not known when they will be in camp despite overtures from the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to secure their release.

TFF president Jamal Malinzi told the Tanzanian media that he had written a letter to the Lubumbashi-based team to request the two’s release.

Malinzi said Mazembe, who play Zamalek in the Caf Champions League next weekend, have been silent on TFF’s request, an indication that the availability of the players is uncertain.

Samata scored the only goal that saw TP beat bitter rivals AS Vita 1-0 in the Champions League over the weekend.

When Samata and Ulimwengu travelled to Dar es Salaam for the Zimbabwe clash, it is believed the government played a crucial role to convince TP Mazembe owner and president Moise Katumbi to secure release of the duo.

The two were identified as key players in the Tanzanian squad that troubled the Warriors’ back four of Hardlife Zvirekwi, Milton Ncube, Patson Jaure and Eric Chipeta in the first leg and their absence could be a blessing in disguise for the Warriors.

On Tuesday, former Warriors midfielder Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo told our sister paper Southern Eye that an early goal would unsettle the visitors.

Mashinkila-Khumalo, who played in the much-acclaimed Reinhard Fabisch-coached Dream Team in the 1990s, said the boys must go on attacking mode from the outset.

“Carrying that 1-0 loss and what we have got, I think our chances are very bright especially if we put our heads together, that is the players and the technical team. I think we can get the positive result. We just have to go in there and attack from the start. We are only trailing 1-0 and an early goal will unsettle them (Tanzania). The chances are bright for the Warriors,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a bid to lure fans for the high-profile qualifier between Zimbabwe and Tanzania set for the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, Zifa have reduced gate charges to $2 for the rest of the ground.

The national association, which is facing financial problems, believe they still need to create an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors and spur the Warriors to overturn the 1-0 deficit suffered in the first leg two weeks ago.

Bays 15-18 will cost $5 while fans intending to watch the game from the VIP stands will have to fork out $20, according to Zifa marketing manager Wellington Mugwagwa.

“Gates will open at 11am and we encourage the fans to come early,” Mugwagwa said.

The Warriors have previously been playing at Rufaro Stadium, but coach Ian Gorowa is not a fan of the dilapidated artificial turf in Mbare, which Dynamos have also abandoned due to the many injuries suffered by players.

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  2. Hazvititadzisi kurohwa izvozvo I watched a delayed of the reverse fixture and one thing that I can tell you is ” our players are as nervous as their coach ”
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