Brighton lead Aston Villa in £12m transfer chase for Samatta

07Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Brighton lead Aston Villa in £12m transfer chase for Samatta

BRIGHTON head a queue of English Premier League clubs interested in signing Tanzania's senior national soccer team's striker, Mbwana Samatta, who turns out for Belgium's KRC Genk.

The Seagulls, newly-promoted Aston Villa, Leicester, Watford and Burnley are all eyeing up the £12million-rated Tanzania international.

And Samatta, 26, is understood to be keen to move to England after an outstanding season in Belgium’s top flight.

He scored 23 goals to help Genk lift the title and also won the Ebony Shoe - an award given to Belgium’s best player of African descent.

The gong has previously been picked up by Romelu Lukaku, Vincent Kompany and Michy Batshuayi.

Samatta will lead the line for Tanzania at the African Nations Cup later this month - the first time his country has qualified for the event since 1980.

But after the tournament has finished, he hopes to leave Genk, who he joined in January 2016 from Congo club TP Mazembe, and come to the Premier League.

Brighton have been monitoring Samatta for some time and ex-boss Chris Hughton was a big fan, while new chief Graham Potter also rates the forward.

But they face competition from a number of their top-flight rivals, as well as clubs on the Continent, including Roma and Lyon.

Samatta is part of Taifa Stars' squad which will be battling it out in the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time.

The squad made its first appearance in the continental tournament in 1980.

Taifa Stars have been attending training sessions at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam this week to prepare for the tournament that will take place in Egypt.

Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) information officer, Clifford Ndimbo, disclosed the training was moving on smoothly, with players participating in morning and evening sessions under head coach, Emmanuel Amunike.

The side, he noted, will today jet off to Egypt for a one-week camp to shape up for the showpiece.

Stars are set to play two international friendly matches against hosts, Egypt, and Zimbabwe in the final stage of preparations.

The Tanzania side will lock horns with Egypt on June 13 and the former will then take on Zimbabwe three days later.

Tanzania are in Group C of the showpiece with continental powerhouses, Algeria and Senegal, and East Africa neighbours, Kenya.

Tanzania will take on Senegal in the opening match on June 23.



Taifa Stars' skipper, Mbwana Samatta (L), attempts to dribble past teammate, Shiza Kichuya, during a training session at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam recently. PHOTO: COURTESY OF TFF