Samatta not enough for KRC Genk striking force, says Degryse 

23Feb 2023
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samatta not enough for KRC Genk striking force, says Degryse 

FORMER KRC Genk footballer, Marc Degryse, has criticized the team's decision to sell Nigerian attacker, Paul Onuachu, in the January registration window while claiming Tanzanian goal-getter Mbwana Samatta is not enough to fill his fellow attacker's gap.

Mbwana Samatta.

Onuachu’s £18 million January switch from KRC Genk to English Premier League outfit, Southampton, is one of the transfers which will prove that, if things do not go as per plan, could end up becoming pretty miserable for all involved.

Southampton, alias Saints, lately languishing at bottom of the English Premier League table and seeing talks with their top managerial target Jesse Marsch break down, are staring down the barrel of the Championship.

As for Onuachu’s former employers, a six-point gap between KRC Genk and second-place Union Saint-Gilloise will be eaten up rather quickly if the Jupiler League leaders cannot immediately adapt to life without their talismanic top scorer.

“You should not underestimate the impact (of selling Onuachu),” Degryse, former Belgium international, argued in HLN.

The former KRC Genk player noted: “He was the top scorer... he guaranteed 20 to 30 goals every year.”

Degryse added: “The competition will not mind Onuachu’s departure. Yes, this could cost Genk the title.”

Onuachu had, since the start of the 2020/21 season, scored 75 goals in 102 appearances for KRC Genk.

Seventeen of the Nigerian attacker's goals were scored during the first half of this season.

Such statistics should hardly be compared to the ones belonging to Samatta, the man who will now step into Onuachu‘s speedboat-sized shoes at the Luminus Arena, used for home matches by the Belgian side. 

The former KRC Genk footballer noted: "Yes, Mbwana Samatta has not exactly been a regular starter since arriving on loan from Fenerbahce. But, still, a tally of one goal in 19 games will not calm the concerns of Genk supporters fearing that Onuachu’s departure could, as Degryse predicts, ‘cost them the title'.

“You have to deal with Samatta because he is the starter now but he will not become Onuachu,” Degryse stated.

The former KRC Genk player said: “Things can still go wrong for Genk because, in the meantime, Union Saint-Gilloise has made further progress.”

Samatta was a prolific goalscorer during his first spell at KRC Genk, netting 32 goals in the 2018/19 season alone.

But if that £10 million move to English Premier League's Aston Villa in January 2020 was supposed to be the beginning of Samatta’s emergence as an elite-level ‘number nine’, it seems to have had the opposite effect.

There have been just 20 goals in his last 107 games, with his spells at Aston Villa, Turkey’s Fenerbahce, and Belgium’s Royal Antwerp FC ending in disappointment.

The Taifa Stars skipper’s return to KRC Genk, it seems, was made more in hope than expectation.

But Onuachu’s departure may be the opportunity Samatta has been waiting for. What better way to announce his rebirth than by rolling back the years and firing KRC Genk to another Jupiler League title?

“In attack, Onuachu is missed,” Radio1 of Belgium reporter Peter Vandenbempt sighs.

Vandenbempt revealed: “Samatta did not play without merit. But he is not the Samatta from his first spell at Genk. The striker simply does not have the stature, presence, weight, and scoring ability of Onuachu.”

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