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21.01.2020 Europe

Samatta becomes first Tanzanian player in England's Premier League

By Paul Myers - RFI
Bruno Fahy/AFP
LISTEN JAN 21, 2020
Bruno Fahy/AFP

Mbwana Samatta completed his move to Aston Villa on Tuesday to become the first footballer from Tanzania to feature in a side in the English Premier League. The 27-year-old joined for 13 million euros from the Belgian club Genk on a four-and-a-half year deal.

"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."

Samatta, who skippered his national team at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, won the Belgian championship with Genk in 2019 as well as the Belgian Super Cup.

During his four years in the country he scored 75 goals in 191 games.

Smith's attacking options were reduced on Monday when Jonathan Kodjia left for Al-Gharafa in Qatar.

“I'm so excited,” said Samatta in an interview with Villa TV. "It's a huge step for me in my career. For all the people from Tanzania, this is a very big step for the country as well.

“Everybody there, they were looking for it to see when someone from Tanzania could play in the Premier League and here I am. I'm so happy.”

Smith has been forced to field teams without a recognised striker since early January when Wesley was ruled out for the rest of the season due to knee ligament damage.

The deal for Samatta was not completed in time for him to feature in the squad to to face Watford on Tuesday night.

Villa are 18th, one of the three relegaiton places in the 20 team division. Watford, who are unbeaten in their last six league games, are one point above them in 17th.

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