Hemed Morocco admits ‘lack of concentration’ costs Taifa Stars

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Hemed 'Morocco' Suleiman

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Tanzania interim head coach Hemed ‘Morocco’ Suleiman bemoaned his side’s lack of concentration as their hopes of registering a first ever African Cup of Nations victory ended with a 1-1 share of spoils with Zambia on Sunday evening.

Simon Msuva fired Taifa Stars ahead at the San Pedro Stadium in the 11th minute and put them on course for their first win at the finals after they started their campaign with a 3-0 loss to Morocco.

Himid Mao pressed Zambia to  steal away possession, allowing Mbwana Samatta to feed Msuva whose shot was still rising as it found the top corner.

Zambia battled hard to try and get into the game and could have been level had Fashion Sakala not headed wide from point-blank range on the half-hour mark.

Matters seemed to go Tanzanian way when Zambia lost Roderick Kabwe to a needless second yellow just before halftime. The second caution came after Kabwe elbowed Samatta, and the Zambian protested furiously for several minutes before leaving the pitch.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Zambia looked the more enterprising in the second half but left it late to level, with Leicester City’s Patson Daka racing in at the near post and rising high to attack the ball and glance it into the net.

Tanzania  might have had a second when Mohamed Hussein’s cross deflected off Frankie Musonda and bounced narrowly wide, while substitute Morice Abraham brought a good save from Zambia goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga.

Earlier on Sunday, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo also drew 1-1, leaving all four teams with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage.

Morocco have four points, DR Congo and Zambia two each and Tanzania one ahead of the final group matches on Wednesday.

Speaking after the game, Morocco opted against deriding his team’s mistakes, instead pointing out they were up against a good team that became even more dangerous after going down to ten men.

“It was a difficult match. We started well by trying to push them. Then we quickly scored in the first quarter of an hour. But unfortunately, we were already trying to manage the match in the first half,”

“I knew this team. We followed them and analyzed them well. In football, teams with 10 players are often more dangerous. And we lacked concentration. Which cost us a goal in the last minute,”

“We were going for 3 points but we are going to take the point. It’s football. We have a young team that continues to learn and progress game after game. Some players fell physically today but we will work on that. And certainly in the next match, we will be even better,”

Tanzania face an uphill task in their bid to qualify for the knockout stage as they face a formidable DR Congo side in their last group game on Wednesday while Zambia will take on DR tournament favourites Morocco at the same time.

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