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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Afcon 2021 Qualifiers: Tanzania must wake up quickly after Libya defeat – Ndayiragije

07:34 GMT 22/11/2019
Azam FC and Tanzania coach Etienne Ndayiragije.
The Burundian coach remains unmoved after the Taifa Stars lost their first match in Group J of the 2021 Afcon campaign

Tanzanian coach Etienne Ndayiragije has urged his charges to wake up and respond positively after they lost to Libya in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The Taifa Stars lost 2-1 against Libya in their Group J qualifier for the 2021 Afcon finals at Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet Stadium in Monastir, Tunisia on Tuesday night.

Skipper Mbwana Samatta gave them an 18th-minute lead from the penalty spot, but Libya responded in equal fashion through Sanad Al Warfali.

Anis Saltou then scored the winner in the 82nd minute. Libya had to finish the game with 10 men after Hamdou Elhouni was sent off for retaliation, but the visitor were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

It was their first defeat in the qualifiers after kicking off the campaign on the front foot with a comfortable 2-1 home win over Equatorial Guinea at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last week.

Reacting after the match, Ndayiragije insisted they still have ample time to put things together and realise the team’s goal of making it into the finals to be staged in Cameroon.

“We lost the battle, not war. The most important thing is how we will be able to respond in the next match,” Ndayiragije is quoted by Daily News.

“Tactically, we have learnt many things which we will use to enable us to go further in the competition.

“As a team, we are struggling to get the essential right back such that since the injury of Young Africans defender Paul Godfrey ‘Boxer’, we have been trying different players, who can fit in but the void is still there.”

Following the defeat, the Stars dropped to third on the ladder on three points, while Libya are second with the same number of points but ahead on head-to-head advantage.

At the summit of the group are Tunisia, who have bagged six points from two games whereas Equatorial Guinea remains at the bottom of the log without a point.