After Tanzania's national soccer team, Taifa Stars, put their quest for a slot at the 2014 World Cup finals back on track, head coach Kim Poulsen believes his boys have the wind in their sails.
Poulsen’s charges overcame a 1-0 first half deficit to hit Gambia’s Scorpions 2-1 in an encounter the hosts and officials celebrated at the sound of the final whistle at the National Stadium on Sunday.
“It was important for us to win,” Poulsen, who took charge of the team nearly a month ago, said in interview with The Citizen yesterday.
The Dane said bagging three points was the primary target and praised his squad for the victory, saying he believes his boys will perform even better in their next assignment against Mozambique.
The Stars will swing back into action on June 15 when they face Mambas of Mozambique in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations second round, return leg in Maputo.
"We are strong as a team, and I think that after this match we are getting even better and even stronger,” said Poulsen.
“I expect Stars to play even better against Mozambique. We are now focused on our next match because this (Gambia game) is now behind us," he said.
For a team that played scintillating football against quality opposition that forced fancied Morocco to a 1-1 draw in their opening match, it was a perfect way of bouncing back following the painful 2-0 defeat to Cote d’Ivoire when the qualifiers kicked off last week.
After the Gambia match, Stars restored their dented pride in the continental soccer scene and are now dreaming of a return to the form the team enjoyed in the 1980s when incumbent Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president, Leodegar Tenga was the team skipper.
The Stars’ first ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals dates back to 1980 in Nigeria. Efforts to repeat that memorable feat have always ended miserably.
They are now second in the Group C standings with three points from two games, one point adrift of pace-setters Cote d’Ivoire.
Morocco, who battled to a 2-2 home draw with The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday in another Group C match, are third with two points after the same number of games, a point ahead of bottom-placed Gambia.
They can realise their dream of making it into the last 10 of the World Cup qualification if they win all their remaining matches.
Top teams from the four-team group will book a place in the final round, which will decide five teams that will qualify for the 2014 Brazil finals.