NATIONAL soccer team, Taifa Stars, coach Marcio Maximo, has included two professionals in his 20-man squad for the East and Central African Senior Challenge Cup kicking off in Kenya at the weekend.
Naming the Kilimanjaro Stars yesterday, Maximo said he has called for the first time goalkeeper Murahami Mohammed and has recalled former skipper Henry Joseph, who ply their trade with Ferroviario de Maputo of Mozambique and Norway's Kongsvinger respectively.
“These two are real patriots. They have proved their commitment to the national team by heeding my call, instead of resting with their families abroad,” he said.
Muharami arrived on Tuesday and attended yesterday's morning training session while Henry was expected to jet in last night.
The Brazilian has, however, dropped his two favourite goalkeepers, Shaaban Dihile of JKT Ruvu and Ally Mustapha of Simba, who have lost the trust of the fans.
Angry fans had earlier confronted Maximo, warning him not to include in his squad players they said were past their prime, particularly citing Dihile.
“We don't want to hear that Dihile is in the team,” shouted one agitated fan. His call was echoed by several others who attended the team's training at the Karume Memorial Stadium.
On the team's chances in Kenya, Maximo said they have prepared well for the 12-team tournament and promised Tanzanians that they would fare better than last year in Kampala where Kilimanjaro Stars finished third.
The Cecafa Challenge Cup was last staged in Uganda last year and was won by the hosts who beat Harambee Stars of Kenya in the final at Nambole.
Deputy Minister for Defence and National Service Emmanuel Nchimbi presented the national flag to Kilimanjaro Stars' skipper Salum Swed and urged Tanzanians to rally behind the team which flies to Nairobi today.
The Stars launch their campaign against Uganda Cranes in Group C in Mumias on Sunday. The group also has Zanzibar and Burundi.
The winners will take home $30,000 (about 39m/-), the runners-up will settle for $20,000 (about 26m/-) while the third placed team will get $10,000 (about 13m/-).
Goalkeepers – Shaaban Hassan 'Kado' (Mtibwa Sugar), Muharami Mohammed (Ferroviario de Maputo).
Defenders – Erasto Nyoni (Azam), Kelvin Yondani (Simba), Salum Swed (Azam), Juma Jabu (Simba), Shadrack Nsajigwa (Yanga), David Naftali (Simba).
Midfielders – Ibrahim Mwaipopo (Azam), Shaaban Nditi (Mtibwa Sugar), Nurdin Bakari (Yanga), Mwinti Kazimoto (JKT Ruvu), Kigi Makasi (Yanga), Juma Said Nyoso (Simba), Henry Joseph (Kongsvinger).
Strikers – Mussa Hassan 'Mgosi' (Simba), Mrisho Ngassa (Yanga), Jerson Tegete (Yanga), Danny Mrwanda (Simba), John Bocco (Azam).