2011 Review: TanzaniaFriendlies - A Slow Start...
2012 African Cup of Nations Qualifying: 3rd in Group D
2014 World Cup Qualifying: Qualified for Second Round Group Stage
2011 CECAFA Cup: Winners!!
December 2011 World Ranking: 125 (-)
I took over in July and had three friendlies lined up to see what I'd got myself into before competitive fixtures towards the end of the year. We travlled to Djibouti first, a game we were tipped to win easily but in the end we only managed a 2-2 draw needing an own goal just to get that. The lack of accuracy from my strikers was a worry. Next, we travelled to Sudan with the home side heavy favourites. In that case, a 2-1 defeat was no big cause for concern. However, a loss by the same scoreline in our next match with Guinea-Bissau was, as we were heavy favourites and this was the side we would face later in the year in the first round of World Cup Qualifying...
African Cup of Nations Qualifying - Inevitable Defeat...
There was one game to play in Group D and we were already out of the running. In fact, so were our opponents with Algeria having secured top spot with agame to spare. Pride was all that was at stake and it was our North African hosts who took it by a score of 3-0.
Final Table - As I said, we were already out but at least we didn't finish bottom, despite that defeat.
World Cup Qualifying - Picking up speed...
We went back to Guinea-Bissau with a much improved performance, earning a 0-0 draw and leaving the tie finely balanced ahead of the second leg, which would be my first game in front of a home crowd. That proved to be the difference as we fired in three goals in the first 20 minutes and then cruised to a 4-1 win.
When the second round of qualifying begins next year, we will face Madagascar, DR Congo and Senegal. Topping the group might be too much to ask but I think we can put up a decent challenge for 2nd place.
CECAFA Cup - In top gear!
The year ended with a tournament for Eastern and Central African teams with Zambia also invited to make the numbers up to 12. The teams were divided into three groups with the top two and the best two third-placed teams going through meaning the knockout rounds were the minimum I expected. Our group consisted of Somalia, Zambia and Ethiopia with the Somalis up first. They lived up to their billing as one of the weakest sides in the tournament as we won 4-0. A much tougher test awaited us in the next game as we took on pre-tournament favourites Zambia. Luck would be on our side as the Zambians had a man sent off in the first half and we took advantage of our numerical superiority to claim a 3-1 victory and secure progression. That meant our final game with Ethiopia was just a formality to confirm top spot in the group. They made a good game of it but we came out on top with a 3-2 win.
We would face Zambia again in the quarter-finals and this time it was an absolute epic! We took an early lead from the penalty spot only to find ourselves 2-1 by the half hour mark. We equalised before half time and then reclaimed the lead early in the second half. Zambia plied the pressure on and got back in it with a goal 5 minutes from time to force extra-time. They then took the lead before we got a late equaliser of our own to take the game to penalties. Both teams took turns to miss early on but we eventually prevailed to advance 3-2 on penalties!
Sudan awaited in the semis and we got off to a dream start, racing into a 3-0 half-time lead. That turned to a nightmare as the Sudanese hit us hard and fast to level the scores at 3-3 by the 65th minute. Thankfully, my boys got their heads together and reclaimed the lead shortly afterwards before adding another near the end just to make sure and give us a 5-3 win.
Onto the final then and a clash with fierce rivals Uganda. We led at half-time but conceded a soft penalty midway through the second half to let the Ugandans back in it. We survived all the way through to the end of extra time meaning the game would be decided from the penalty spot. A crazy shoot-out saw the first five penalties scored and the last five missed. Luckily, we had gone first meaning we won the shoot-out 3-2 and claimed the CECAFA Cup on home soil!
Which leaves only one thing to say...
Year | Nation | World Ranking | Achievements
2011 | Tanzania | 125th (-) | CECAFA Cup Winners