Ndayiragije: Tanzania to miss injured striker Bocco against Burundi

The Taifa Stars tactician reveals the striker will not be available for the build-up game at the weekend after failing to recover from injury

Tanzania coach Etienne Ndayiragije has revealed striker John Bocco will not be involved when they take on Burundi in a friendly on Sunday.

According to the coach, the towering Simba SC forward and captain, reported to camp with an injury and despite efforts to have him ready for the match, he will not be fit to play.

“I have all the players available but I am sorry to say striker John [Bocco] is out of the match,” Ndayiragije told reporters on Friday. “I was hoping to use him for the match, you know how good he is for the national team but it cannot work now, I pray to God for his quick recovery.

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“It is a blow to my plans, you know Bocco is one of the most important players in the team considering he also captains the champions back in Tanzania, but we will have to work around the squad without him.”

Ndarigagije has further stated they will not underrate their opponents, who landed in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday in readiness for the build-up.

“We know Burundi are a tough team, their style of football is like what Tunisia play, and I am sure they will give us the kind of competition we need as we prepare to face Tunisia in November,” he added.

On his part, Taifa Stars captain Mbwana Samatta feels they have what it takes to beat Burundi at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Sunday.

The Taifa Stars captain scored two goals for Fenerbahce as the Turkish giants defeated Fatih Karagumruk 2-1 in his full Super Lig debut last Saturday, and believes the squad in camp is good enough to give the country a win against the Swallows.

“I have faith with the players’ coach Etienne Ndayiragije has called for the national team mission against Burundi, and I am very confident we as a team, will win the forthcoming game,” Samatta revealed.

“The challenge has always been the environment; you will meet with new faces, languages, different game tactics, new team, and everything is new when you join a club, but with the national team, you easily get familiar to each other.”

He is among the foreign-based players named in the Taifa Stars squad by Ndayiragije, others being Thomas Ulimwengu, who plays in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Himid Mao, who plays in Egypt, Simon Msuva and Nickson Kibabage, who are based in Morocco, and Ally Msengi in South Africa.

Tanzania will be taking part in the African Nations Championship and the Burundian tactician will be using the friendly match to gauge the fitness and preparedness of his charges.

The Taifa Stars will be playing Tunisia on November 11 away, before hosting them in Dar es Salaam two weeks later. The East African nation started the campaign in Group J with a 2-1 win over Equatorial Guinea before falling 2-1 away to Libya in their second game.

The Tanzania Mainland League has been active since June 13 which will be a boost to their players’ fitness ahead of the Burundi assignment.

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