Meet Mbwana Samatta, the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League who brought Dar es Salaam to a standstill

Mbwana Samatta in action. (Twitter/AVFCOfficial)
  • Aston Villa signed the 27-year-old Tanzanian striker last week on a four-and-half-year deal, effectively catapulting him to stardom back home in Tanzania.
  • On Tuesday, Samatta made his debut for Premier League side Aston Villa against Leicester City at Villa Park as thousands of Tanzanian football fans watched the match live via giant screens in Dar es Salaam.
  • Among the fans who watched the match was Samatta’s father, Mzee Ally Samatta, who was all tears after his son was included in the first line up and playing under jersey number 10.

On Tuesday night, thousands of Tanzanian football fans gathered in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam to witness history being made before their very eyes.

Local football hero, Mbwana Samatta was about to become the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League and his countrymates were not going to miss it for the world.

Aston Villa signed the 27-year-old Tanzanian striker last week on a four-and-half-year deal, effectively catapulting him to stardom back home in Tanzania.

And so on Tuesday, Samatta made his debut for Premier League side Aston Villa against Leicester City at Villa Park as thousands of Tanzanian football fans watched the match live via giant screens in Dar es Salaam.

Among the fans who watched the match was Samatta’s father, Mzee Ally Samatta, who was all tears after his son was included in the first line up and playing under jersey number 10.

Samatta was named in the starting team at Villa Park on Tuesday night before being substituted in the 67th minute by Keinan Davis.

Aston Villa won the game against Leicester City at Villa Park to proceed to the Carabao Cup final.

Since Samatta’s transfer to Aston Villa, it sent shock waves back home in Tanzania, where images of the son of a retired policeman adorn most billboards in the capital city, Dar es Salaam, following his exploits at Genk and for the Taifa Stars national team.

He has scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League.

“I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club,” said Villa manager Dean Smith. “He has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

His impact in Belgium after signing from TP Mazembe in 2016 is illustrated by the fact that 16-year-old Tanzanian starlet Kelvin John has already been snapped up by the club whose celebrated youth academy produced Kevin De Bruyne, Divock Origi and Wilfred Ndidi in the past.

It is actually more than 50 years since Villa became the first English club to field an east African player, with Zambia’s Freddie Mwila and Emment Kapengwe both featuring in the First Division back in 1969 after being signed by Tommy Docherty.

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