NATIONAL football team Taifa Stars Head Coach, Etienne Ndayiragije said he will be compelled to name afresh his squad to prepare for international duties basing on player’s fitness levels.
Taifa Stars became among several national teams on the continent which were affected by the abrupt suspension of the 2021 Africa Cup of the Nations (AFCON) qualifiers and this year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals, which were planned to kick off on April 4th to 25th in Cameroon.
The halting of both major competitions were taken as a step forward to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has shaken the entire world with new cases and deaths reported daily.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam recently, Ndayiragije said national team is called at a specific time basing on the nature of their opponent and the competition.
“The squad I selected previously was to play against Tunisia in the AFCON qualifiers but when they announced that the match was postponed, it means I will have to select another team,” he said.
He added: “When the new dates are unveiled for both games, we will have to sit down again to select those players who will be fit then since most players are currently at their homes. “If the league resumes and some of the players we called in the first squad are injured, do you expect to include them again in the team? No, that cannot happen,” he said Ndayiragije had summoned a total of 35 players, of which, majority were set to feature in both the CHAN finals and 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
Young Africans midfielder Mapinduzi Balama had earned debut call up in the national senior team squad, Taifa Stars, as Shomari Kapombe also made a comeback after a brief early retirement.
Apart from Balama, there are several other new faces in the squad, including Kelvin Kijiri (KMC), David Bryson (Gwambina), Dickson Job (Mtibwa), Said Makapu (Young Africans), Bryson Raphael (Azam FC), Reliant Lusajo (Namungo FC ), Lucas Kikoti (Namungo FC) and Sixtus Sabilo from Polisi Tanzania.
Central defender Abdi Banda, who features for South Africa side, Highlands Park had also been recalled in the squad. Banda fell out with former Stars boss Nigerian Emmanuel Amunike.
Ndayiragije also recalled Simba’s right wingback Kapombe, who was out of the team due to frequent recurring injuries before announcing his decision to pulling out of the team.