Mbwana Samatta joins Royal Antwerp on loa

03Sep 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Mbwana Samatta joins Royal Antwerp on loa

TANZANIA's senior national soccer team 'Taifa Stars' skipper, Mbwana Samatta, has joined Belgium's Royal Antwerp as the team announced that the forward is on loan at the club from Turkey's Fenerbahçe until the end of the season, with the option to buy.

Mbwana Samatta

Since joining the Turkish Super Lig outfit from England's Aston Villa, the African star has struggled in front of goal.

In the 2020/21 campaign, he scored just five times despite making 27 league appearances.

It was alleged that the Tanzanian footballer had the option to move permanently on a 4 million euros deal.

Samatta, who goes to a team that will face Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League, used to wear jersey number 33 at the side and had only six goals.

In the battle for his signature,  Royal Antwerp has clashed with several clubs including Troyes and Montpellier of the French Premier League.

Montpellier put on the table 2.5 million euros. Samatta's pricing has opened the door for Fenerbahce to capture Angers' Stéphane Bahoken as his successor.

Samatta played his final game for Fenerbançe on Sunday after coming from the bench against Altay S.K in the former's 2-0 win.

Nonetheless, he has been shipped to the Bosuilstadion Antwerp where he is expected to rediscover his scoring form under manager Brian Priske.

“The 28-year-old striker from Tanzania comes over from Turkish [club] Fenerbahce, who we will meet in the UEL group stage. He will be hired until the end of the season with a purchase option,” a statement from Royal Antwerp read.

“Samatta became champion two years ago at KRC Genk, where he played a total of five seasons. In 191 games, he scored 76 times and handed out 20 assists.''

“In 2020, he made the move to Aston Villa in the Premier League, after which he moved to Fenerbahce. Good luck at the Tawny Owl, Ally!”

With this move, he becomes the seventh player from Africa in Priske’s squad.

Others include Abdoulaye Seck (Senegal), Alhassan Yusuf (Nigeria), Nill De Pauw (Congo), Luete Ava Dongo (Congo), Bruny Nsimba (Angola) and Opoku Ampomah (Ghana).

He is expected to join with the rest of his teammates after the international window as they continue their Belgian top-flight campaign.

The African star led Taifa Stars’ attack when they confronted DR Congo at the Stade TP Mazembe, Lubumbashi in yesterday's African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

Samatta could make his debut when Antwerp travel to Kehrwegstadion for their league fixture against Stefan Kramer’s KAS Eupen.

After five matches played so far, the four-time Belgian kings are placed 15th on the log having accrued five points from five games.

Their last outing ended in a 2-2 draw at home against OH Leuven.

During his time at Genk, he wrote his name in the history books being the first Tanzanian to feature in the UEFA Champions League having featured against Salzburg on December 20, 2019.