Samatta: Suspended coach Amrouche is 'one of us'

25Jan 2024
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Samatta: Suspended coach Amrouche is 'one of us'

TANZANIA's national football team 'Taifa Stars' captain Mbwana Samatta has described their suspended coach Adel Amrouche, as 'one of us' and said he wished the squad could have him with them at the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

 

Amrouche was sanctioned by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) last week after he was handed an eight-match ban and fined $10,000 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The sanction followed a complaint from the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF) to the CAF about remarks made by the coach.

"He (Amrouche) prepared us to come to the AFCON and after the first game, he got suspended. So it's tough, actually, for the group," Samatta told BBC Sport Africa.

"We wish we could have him with us. But this is what happened and we cannot change that so we stay together."

The TFF said Amrouche's comments, made before AFCON had kicked off, criticized the RMFF's influence over the African game.

Morocco had already beaten Tanzania 3-0 in their opening Group F match last Wednesday when Amrouche's suspension was announced.

His place was taken by Hemed Suleiman 'Morocco' who was in the Taifa Stars dugout for their second game, a 1-1 draw with Zambia on Sunday, and the interim coach also gave his support to Amrouche.

"We have solidarity as coaches. You're working together and it was our mission to come to do something in this AFCON," he said.

Tanzania was needing a win against DR Congo in their final Group F match later yesterday to stand any chance of progressing to the last 16.

Samatta says despite Amrouche's absence, he was still a big part of the team's preparations.

The 55-year-old was appointed as Tanzania boss in March last year, leading the country to AFCON by securing a point in his birth country of Algeria in their final qualifying match.

"We managed to play our game against Zambia and it didn't break us," former Aston Villa striker Samatta added.

"We will try to make sure that we play our game and try to win our game. We still consider him with us because we cannot let him out of our team. He is one of us."