alexa Spies or trainers? Tanzania beef up bench ahead of Cup of Nations - Daily Nation

Spies or trainers? Tanzania beef up bench ahead of Cup of Nations

Friday June 14 2019

Taifa Stars head coach Emmanuel Amunike (top) celebrates with players after qualifying for the 2019 Afcon following a victory over Uganda. PHOTO | FILE |

Taifa Stars head coach Emmanuel Amunike (top) celebrates with players after qualifying for the 2019 Afcon following a victory over Uganda. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

DAVID KWALIMWA
By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Neighbours Tanzania have beefed up the national team's technical bench ahead of their return to the Africa Cup of Nations after almost four decades in the cold.

But former Harambee Stars coach James Nandwa suggests the new recruits could have been drafted into the team on a spying mission.

Taifa Stars have set up camp in Cairo and stepped up preps ahead of their return to the biennial continental showpiece after 39 years of waiting.

Coached by Nigerian legend Emmanuel Amunike, who won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player in 1994, the Tanzanians will face Kenya's Harambee Stars, plus Algeria and Senegal in Group 'C' with only two teams from that pool assured of progressing to the second round of the tournament. The third-placed could still advance as the best loser.

Perhaps with this in mind, Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) announced on Wednesday of the decision to employ two Egyptian coaches to beef up the technical bench.

They are fitness trainer Ali Tahi and Abdelrahman Essa, a physiotherapist.

"They have both worked under our head coach (Emmanuel Amunike) in the past and are coming in to improve on our fitness levels," explained a statement signed by TFF media officer Clifford Ndimbo.

Nandwa, who also enjoyed a successful stint as coach at Tanzania's top-flight side Coastal Union, reads some cheekiness in these appointments.

"Amunike is an experienced coach so I don't think he just discovered with a week to the start of the tournament that he needs a physical trainer and physiotherapist," explained Nandwa.

"They (the coaches) are Egyptians. I am tempted to believe they will help the team to find its way around the country and who knows? probably assist in getting some inside information on opponents."

At position 131 on the 211-table Fifa rankings, Tanzania is the lowest ranked team in the group, behind Kenya (108), Algeria (70) and Senegal (23). Taifa Stars were scheduled to face Egypt in an international friendly Thursday evening.

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