Dar es Salaam. The national soccer team, Taifa Stars, captain, Mbwana Samatta, has conceded they were not good enough to compete at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Drawn in a tough group alongside the 1990 champions Algeria, Senegal and neighbours Kenya, Taifa Stars’ first finals appearance since 1980 saw them exit without a point from three matches.
“Our best is not good enough. I think we still have a long way to go. It’s not good enough at all for this level,” Samatta said.
Taifa Stars’ campaign in the Afcon ended with a 3-0 defeat to Algeria’s Desert Foxes at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday night.
Algeria made 11 changes to the team that beat Senegal last week and still silenced the Tanzanian boys to top Group C with nine points. Samatta, who was a key figure for the Stars, said they tried their best in Monday’s match despite losing to bow out of the competition.
“It could be something historic for us to get to the last 16 and that was our aim. We have to improve our quality levels,” added.
Taifa Stars contained Algeria for 35 minutes before conceding three goals by half-time with Islam Slimani opening the scoring before Adam Ounas added two.
For his part, football analyst Ali Mayay said Emmanuel Amunike’s men lost to more tactical sides at the Afcon.
“When you are playing a good team like Algeria or Senegal and you lose some concentration even for a few seconds, you get punished and that’s what happened to our team in Egypt,” he said.
“It’s no doubt they (Group C rivals) were the better teams and our team did not trouble them at all,” the former Young Africans player noted. Taifa Stars head coach Emmanuel Amunike had similar views, adding that his men failed to contain their well-drilled and vastly experienced opponents.
“On Monday, I think there was a stage where we made Algeria look very, very average, and then there was a stage where they made us look like schoolboys,” he said.
“How do you get those two contrasting things in one game? As far as I’m concerned, it’s just immaturity from our side,” he said.
Tanzania snatched a place at the 2019 finals thanks to a three-goal thumping of already-qualified Uganda and the failure of Lesotho to win in Cape Verde.