Dar es Salaam - Tanzania national team coach Jan Poulsen on Tuesday called off a proposed international friendly match against Chad in order to accommodate a mouth-watering friendly game against Bafana Bafana in the capital Dar es Salaam on May 14.
The FIFA website has listed Tanzania to be playing South Africa on May 14 and then Chad on May 17, but Poulsen revealed to Tanzanian national paper The Citizen on Tuesday that he was only aware of the South Africa game and has thus instructed the Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) officials to cancel the Chad match.
The Citizen quoted Poulsen saying that he could not play two friendly games within three days and accused match agents of releasing the information to the FIFA website before confirming the match with the TFF.
He further revealed that as far as he was concerned, he was focused on the game against South Africa.
“With our match against South Africa on May 14,” said Poulsen, “it will be impossible to then play Chad three days later and so, the latter game has been called off. But the South Africa game will provide us with a perfect tune-up ahead of the African Nations Cup qualifier against Central African Republic in early June,” explained Poulsen.
Although May 14 is not a FIFA sanctioned date, South African Football Association (SAFA) president Kirsten Nematandani revealed that he was aware that there are a couple of invitations on their international desk and Tanzania was among them.
I will check with the coach and the CEO Pinky Lehoko about that matter.”
South African national coach Pitso Mosimane is also aware of the invitation from Tanzania to play the Taifa Stars on the proposed date, but according to the man who has lifted Bafana Bafana to an impressive fifth position in Africa on the FIFA rankings, the federation was until Monday working out the finer details of the match.
What could work out in favour of Mosimane is that the proposed date falls within the same weekend that the South African version of the English FA Cup - the Nedbank Cup - will be played and the league programme would be suspended.
In addition, all the top teams except Orlando Pirates have already been eliminated from the Nedbank Cup competition which means there will be enough players for Mosimane to select a strong enough squad that could compete against the Taifa Stars.
It certainly make perfect sense for Mosimane to get a warm-up match ahead of the crucial African Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt in Cairo and if SAFA can successfully negotiate the release of players with the PSL then Mosimane could take quite a decent squad to Dar es Salaam for the international match.
And with Bongani Khumalo reportedly ruled out of action for a couple of months after suffering a fractured ankle for Preston North End last week, it could present Mosimane with an opportunity to see whether Eric Mathoho or Siyanda Xulu are ready to make the big step-up to senior football alongside Morgan Gould in central defence.
“We need to play against a highly rated team like Bafana Bafana,” continues Poulsen, “Bafana Bafana will give us a real test due to their experience of playing in the World Cup and I am looking forward, as well as millions of Tanzanians, to facing them on May 14,” added the coach still smarting from a 2-0 loss to Mozambique in a friendly game over the Easter weekend.
The secretary general of the TFF Angetile Osiah explained that the Chadian Football Federation has not informed them about the proposed match, adding they only learned about the match when they saw the fixture on the Fifa website.
“We are already committed to the South Africa match,” said Osiah in the same report.
“We cannot honour two matches within a space of three days,” he added as soon as they touched down at Dar es Salaam from Maputo on Monday.