Tanzania  Begins Quest for 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualification

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Tanzania men’s national football team, TaifaStars will this evening get their 2016 World Cup qualifying campaign underway when  they take on Niger at Stade de Marrakech, Morocco.

Both nations have been drawn in Group E, alongside World Cup finalists Morocco, 2012 African Cup of Nations winners Zambia and Congo. Eritrea withdrew from the group.

The match is set to be played in Morocco after CAF failed to approve any stadium in Niger forcing the West African nation to settle for Morocco for their home games.

With a daunting assignment against Morocco to follow up on Tuesday, Taifa Stars will be keen to kick off their World Cup qualifying journey on a high. Adel Amrouche and his charges will be backing themselves to pick up a dream start to the World Cup qualifiers as they take on an opposing side against whom they are unbeaten in two recent  encounters, claiming one win and a draw in the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Taifa Stars concluded their friendly schedule for the year in October when they were held to a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw by Sudan in Saudi Arabia. They have now gone unbeaten in their last three matches, picking up one win and two draws, including a 0-0 stalemate against Algeria in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game on September 8.

Despite the draw against Algeria, Taifa Stars secured a second-placed finish in Group F, picking up eight points from six matches, to secure a third AFCON appearance.

Amrouche said after his squad had taken part in Thursday’s late training session that back to back games with a short time are not easy for his young squad but they do their best to make the nation happy.

“We are going to do our best to make our people happy. Football is football but making people happy is the most important consideration in my philosophy. My contract is not about football but with the wonderful people in Tanzania because I love these people and I am in good relationship with them.” 

“I am not going to complain about this and that now that we are here. We are people who talk on the field. We do our best because I know our problems. We play on 18 and 21 November, it is not easy for the players and coaches to focus on one game. For me it is normal but not for the young players.”

Captain Mbwana Samatta and JS Kabylie forward Simon Msuva will lead the attack while Bakari Mwamnyeto and Ibrahim Bacca will guard the defence.

Niger, on the other hand, are winless in their last four competitive fixtures, and this game comes in the backdrop of their poor showing in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers where they finished last in Group F. However a 3-0 victory over Somalia in a friendly last month should give Niger reason for optimism.

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