Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has called off the friendly game between the national team Taifa Stars and neighbours Kenya’s Harambee Stars which was scheduled to take place yesterday in Kenya following the sudden demise of President John Magufuli.
TFF confirmed the cancellation of the friendly early yesterday after Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced the death of President Magufuli who died on Wednesday night.
The two Cecafa members were scheduled to play their second trial game yesterday at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, this is after their first game ended 2-1 in favour of the hosts Harambee Stars.
Clifford Ndimbo – TFF Information and Communications Officer, disclosed that due to the cancellation of the match the Taifa Stars will continue to pitch its training camp in Nairobi ahead of the AFCON qualifiers match against Equatorial Guinea.
Taifa Stars are in Group J for the race to Cameroon with four points from as many matches and need maximum points in the remaining games to seal their place in the finals.
Tunisia leads the group and has already sealed their place for 2022 AFCON after collecting 10 points from four games they’ve played. Equatorial Guinea occupies the second position with six points while Libya sits bottom of the table with three points.
“Kenya vs Tanzania is called off. With respect to our brothers, we have agreed to cancel. Poleni sana,” FKF boss Nick Mwendwa said on his Twitter account.
The cancellation of the friendly game was also confirmed by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which assured that the game will not go on as planned.
“Following the untimely demise of Tanzanian President, His Excellency, Dr John Pombe Magufuli, Football Kenya Federation, in consultation with the Tanzanian Football Federation, has made a decision to cancel today’s international friendly match between the national team Harambee Stars and the Tanzanian national football team, which was scheduled to take place at the Nyayo National Stadium, beginning at 3:00 pm,” FKF’s statement seen by Goal read.
“Football Kenya Federation wishes to extend its deepest sympathy and message of goodwill to the Tanzanian Football Federation, the family and friends of the late president and the good people of Tanzania. May the Lord bless you with the strength to sail through this tough situation.”
In a separate post, the FKF President Nick Mwendwa sent his message of condolence to the Tanzanian people.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Tanzania following the loss of President John Pombe Magufuli,” posted Mwendwa on Facebook. “On behalf of FKF and the entire Kenyan football fraternity, I wish you peace and solace during these difficult times.”
Kenya is set to face Egypt and Togo in the remaining qualifiers whereas Kim Poulsen’s charges are due to meet Equatorial Guinea and Libya.
Meanwhile former Kenya national side British tactician, Bobby Williamson concedes the games will be tough but exuded confidence that the East Africans will win the matches to advance and can get maximum points from remaining matches.
“Despite that, Harambee Stars are capable of beating Egypt at home and Togo away. The fact that they need six points to stand a chance of making it to Cameroon is a motivation.”
“It is the same case for Tanzania; they have a tough outing away to Equatorial Guinea before hosting Libya. But they have a chance of winning the games to qualify for the biennial competition.
“I wish both teams all the best. The more teams from Central and East Africa qualify the better.”