The former tactician says the Serengeti Boys will have no excuses for not doing well at the junior tournament set for Morocco
Former Tanzania U17 coach Bakari Shime is confident the team will go far in the Africa Cup of Nations U17 tournament set for Morocco in March.
According to the draw conducted on Wednesday, Tanzania were pooled in Group B alongside Nigeria, Algeria and Congo, Group A will have Uganda, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Zambia and Group C is comprised of Cameroon, Senegal, Mali and South Africa.
Despite the tough draw, Shime is confident the team will go far in the competition considering the fact this is the most productive age in football which if nurtured well, can reach the highest levels.
“This happens to be the third time Serengeti Boys have qualified to play in junior Afcon finals as such, they have gathered enough experience from their past two appearances and people want to see how far they can go,” Shime explained to Daily News after learning of the draw.
“Here, we should not use lack of experience as an excuse if the team fail to impress because featuring in two competitions of the same status is enough for them to thoroughly know the contest better.
“There is neither simple nor difficult group in group stages and what separate teams is usually the level of their preparations. I believe that Serengeti Boys will shine this time around because they have been preparing for a long time.
“They are together with famous teams on the continent with enough experience of playing in U17 Afcon games but it should be known that we are now matured to stage a good fight mainly because this is our third time to compete.”
The Serengeti Boys will begin their campaign in the competition by taking on Nigeria on March 14 before facing Algeria on March 17 and end their group fixtures with a clash against Congo on March 20 – with all matches lined up for Moulay Hassan Stadium.
Tanzania and Uganda were also part of the U20 competition that is ongoing in Mauritania. The Ngorongoro Heroes of Tanzania were eliminated in the group stage but Uganda’s Hippos have progressed to semi-finals after beating Burkina Faso on Thursday.
The East African countries, and Zambia as well, were also participants in the African Nations Championship tournament held in Cameroon and were eliminated in the group stage, but Chipolopolo were knocked out in the Round of 16.