Three time CECAFA Senior Challenge cup winners Tanzania’s preparations for the 2019 edition of the competition has been thrown aback.
This is after four experienced stars who were summoned ahead of the preparation for the tournament that gets underway on Saturday 7th in Uganda, with the climax due 19th December 2019, pulling out of the squad.
Azam FC quartet; Frank Domayo, Salum Abubakar, Shaban Chilunda and Iddi Selemani have all pulled out of the team to take part in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
Abubakar and Chilunda pulled out after sustaining respective injuries during their team’s 2-2 draw against JKT Tanzania on Sunday.
Domayo who was part of the team in 2015 as the Kilimanjaro Stars bowed out at the quarterfinals hoped he’d recover in time for the tournament, before pulling out as well.
Selemani joined the team on Monday but suffered a muscle injury on Wednesday during training, which rules him out of the CECAFA tournament
“Abubakar had reported to camp but was nursing an injury sustained during the league game involving his team Azam against JKT Tanzania, the same with Chilunda,” Team Doctor Emil Urassa told Mwananchi.
“Domayo was also injured before joining us for the Cecafa preparations so he will be out as well. The only one who was injured in training on Wednesday is Selemani.”
However, Tanzania’s coach Etienne Ndayiragije is optimistic that the remaining set of players do have enough to carry the team as far into the tournament goes.
“We are preparing to go and compete, and we will give our best regardless of the team we will be playing against,” Ndayiragije said.
With 2012 CECAFA Challenge Cup topscorer John Bocco left out, Ndayiragije will rely on industrious youngster John Kelvin who was voted MVP in the just concluded U-20 showpiece which was held in Uganda last September.
Defender Kelvin Yondani and midfielder Jonas Mkude are expected to provide leadership, while goalkeeper Aishi Manula will hope to make a return to the team after missing recent engagements.
Tanzania are in Group C alongside Kenya, Zanzibar and Djibouti.
The Tanzania Squad
Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simba SC), Matecha Mnata (Yanga SC) and David Kisu (Gor Mahia/Kenya)
Defenders: Juma Abdul (Yanga), Nickson Kibabage (Difaa Hassan El –Jadid/Morocco), Mwaita Gereza (Kagera Sugar), Kelvin Yondani (Yanga SC), Bakari Mwamnyeto (Coastal Union), Mohamed Hussein (Simba SC), Gardiel Michael (Simba SC)
Midfielders: Zawadi Mauya (Kagera Sugar), Jonas Mkude (Simba SC), Muzamil Yassin (Simba SC), Hassan Dilunga (Simba SC)
Forwards: Paul Nonga (Lipuli FC), Miraji Athuman ‘Madenge’ (Simba SC), Ditram Ntchimbi (Polisi Tanzania), Eliuther Mpepo (Buildcon/Zambia) and Lucas Kikoti (Namungo FC).