Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania / United Republic of Tanzania
- Capital: Dodoma
- Official Languages: English, Swahili
- Regional Languages: Arabic, Bemba, Bena, Chaga, Datooga, Digo, Gogo, Haya, Makonde, Sumbwa,
- Nicknames: Taifa Stars [men’s team]; Twiga Stars [women’s team]
- Association: Tanzania Football Federation (TFF)
- FIFA Code: TAN
- Best World Cup Result (Men): Not Qualified
- Best World Cup Result (Women): Not Qualified
- Best African Cup of Nations Result: (Men): Group Stage (1980, 2019)
- Best African Cup of Nations Result: (Women): Group Stage (2010)
- Best African Nations Championship Result: (Men): Group Stage (2009, 2020)
- Best CECAFA Cup Result (Men): WINNERS (1995, 2010)
- Best CECAFA Cup Result (Women): Third Place (2011)
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Men): 65th (February 1995)
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Women): 92nd (December 2009)
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Men): 175th (October – November 2005)
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Women): 144th (December 2007)
- Most Capped Player: Erasto Nyoni – 103 Caps (as of July 2021)
- Top Scorer: Mrisho Ngasa – 25 Goals
The United Republic of Tanzania, more commonly known as Tanzania, is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes Region. Tanzania borders Uganda to the north, Kenya to the northeast, Comoros Islands and the Indian Ocean to the east, Mozambique and Malawi to the south, Zambia to the southwest, and finally Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Tanzania is also the home of the highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro which is in the northeast of the country. The country was formerly called Tanganyika and was a sovereign state that gained it’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, before merging with Zanzibar and Pemba (who had gained their respective independence in 1963) in 1964 to create the country’s current state and name.
With regards to football, the game in Tanzania is governed by the Tanzania Football Federation which was established in 1945. The federation became members of FIFA in 1964, CAF (Confederation of African Football) in 1965 and CECAFA (Council for East and Central African Football Associations) in 1973. The federation which as well as overseeing Tanzanian international football also administers domestic football in the country which currently consists of four tiers – The Tanzanian Premier League, Tanzanian First Division League (two groups of ten teams) Tanzanian Second Division League (four groups of six teams) and the fourth level Regional Champions League (four groups of seven teams) As well as League Football, there is also a domestic knockout cup competition in the country which is called the Azam Sports Federation Cup. The winners of the Tanzanian Premier League earn a place in the CAF Champions League which is the number one club competition on the continent of Africa.
Tanzania’s first official international football match took place in 1945 when the country was known as Tanganyika and resulted in a heavy 7-0 away defeat against Uganda. It was as Tanganyika when the country experienced their heaviest international defeat to date, a 9-0 loss in 1956 at home to Kenya. On a more happier note Tanzania’s record victory has been two 7-0 wins over Somalia in 1995 and 2012 respectively.
The Taifa Stars qualified for their first major tournament in 1980 which was that year’s African Cup of Nations held in Nigeria. The team finished bottom of their group which meant they were knocked out of the group stages without winning a game, but they did hold the Ivory Coast to a 1-1 draw in their final group game. It would be a wait of 29 years before they qualified for their second African Cup of Nations when they made it to the competition in 2019 held in Egypt. Again they did not get out of their group, and this occasion lost all three group games. With regards to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) – Tanzania qualified for the first time in 2009 and although going out at the group stages they did manage to record an excellent victory by 1 goal to 0 against the Ivory Coast who hosted the competition in 2009. They qualified again for the 2020 championship held in Cameroon and yet again failed to get out of the group stages of a major competition by finishing third in their four team group.
If we take a look at some of their more recent performances, there are signs that the national team are improving. This opinion is backed up by their 1-1 home draw against Tunisia in November 2020 and their 1-0 home victory against Libya in March of this year.
To find out more about a nation who have yet to make it out of the group stages of a major competition, but who are showing signs of real improvement recently, we spoke to the excellent Twitter account – Tanzania Football News, which talks about all things and news happening within Tanzanian football. You can find the link to their Twitter account below:
- Twitter: @tzfootballnews
Q. Who would you say is your country’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
Mrisho Khalfan Ngassa [32-year-old winger or forward currently playing for Young Africans) is the best player of all time in my opinion. He has won 100 caps for Tanzania and is the all time top scorer for the national team with 28 goals [earned between 2006 and 2015].
On the management side, this has to be Márcio Máximo (the coach of Tanzania between 2006 and 2010) ‘THE COACH WHO RETURNED THE STATUS OF STARS‘. He has two faces in the eyes of Tanzanians, this means football fans in the country are looking at him in two ways especially after the national team events (qualification for 2009 CHAN Finals) When he came to teach football in the country he found a red clay stadium at Karume Stadium where there is now a ‘carpet’ of artificial grass. He is regarded as an angel who brought grace to our land.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the national team both in the past and present?
Mrisho Khalfan Ngassa is always hero for our national team. Due to his fighting spirit, skills, scoring goals and a man who has played 100 times for Tanzania.
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player in the Tanzania national side currently?
Mbwana Ally Samatta (28-year-old striker currently on loan at Fenerbahçe from Aston Villa) currently is the best player for the national team. He has scored almost 20 goals for the national team. He is a most influential player, inspiring other players, especially to work hard.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the national team?
Actually the current performance of our national team is good. We won our last match by two goals against Malawi.
Q. Are there any Tanzanian players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the country?
- Feisal Salum – 23-year-old midfielder playing for Tanzanian club Young African SC
- Kelvin John – 18-year-old forward playing for Belgian club KRC Genk
- Nickson Kibabage 20-year-old forward playing on loan for Moroccan side Youssoufia Berrechid from Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi
Q. Looking at Tanzania’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
My favourite game was between us and Uganda during the qualifying stage for AFCON 2019 [with Tanzania winning the match 3-0] – a successful qualification which was only the second time Tanzania have managed to qualify by their own efforts. Although it was mostly helped by luck thanks to Cape Verde and Lesotho failing to win [drawing their final group game 0-0].
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
Yes, the last match between us and Equatorial Guinea during the qualifying stage for AFCON 2021 [losing 1-0 in Malabo]. Our performance in this game was actually very poor.
- CAF Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8IXvBb7eDg
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Tanzanian national team?
Absolutely nothing. [Editor: They seem to have nice kits…]
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
No, not to my knowledge.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?
No, I haven’t really.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Tanzanian national team?
Actually the future for our national team is bright. Our football federation and government have started different strategies such as training of football experts, the innovation of the football infrastructure (stadiums), the introduction of sports subjects in primary schools, and so on. This is to make sure that the national team become stronger in the future.
A massive asante to Tanzanian Football News for answering our questions on the Taifa Stars. Remember you can find their excellent account in the links at the top of the blogpage.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to the author at @Gareth19801 or the editor at @The94thMin on Twitter.