by Ben Taylor
Taifa Stars fall short in World Cup qualifying
The national men’s football team, Taifa Stars, fell agonisingly short of winning their qualifying group for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. After an impressive 1-0 away win against Benin and a 1-1 draw away at DR Congo in earlier matches, Tanzania led the group going into the final two matches in November 2021. However, a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to DR Congo in the penultimate match left the Stars with only a slim chance of qualifying, and results of the final matches did not go their way.
Winger Saimon Msuva, at times deputising for the team’s sole international star, Mbwana Samatta, as striker, delivered three goals in six qualifying matches. This result means Taifa Stars have narrowly missed out on qualifying for two major tournaments in 2021. In March the team finished third in their qualifying group for the Cup of African Nations, after conceding a goal in the 90th minute away to Equatorial Guinea.
Tanzanian athletes return empty handed from Tokyo
Tanzania sent a team of three competitors to the 2020 Olympics, held in Tokyo in July-August 2021. All three were marathon runners, two in the men’s race – Gabriel Gerald Geay and Alphonce Felix Simbu – and one in the women’s race – Failuna Matanga. Matanga finished in 24th position, while Simbu finished in a highly creditable 7th place. In very difficult running conditions (due to heat), Geay was one of 30 runners in the men’s race who did not complete the course.