Skipper Mbwana Samatta confirms request to retire from national team

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 07:27 AM Jun 21 2024
Tanzania's national football team (Taifa Stars) skipper Mbwana Samatta.
Photo: Agencies
Tanzania's national football team (Taifa Stars) skipper Mbwana Samatta.

MBWANA Ally Samatta, the captain of Tanzania's national football team, Taifa Stars, has confirmed that he has written a letter to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) requesting to retire from international duty, citing age as the primary factor in his decision.

In an interview with one of the sports media outlets in the country, Samatta said: "It's true that I've done that. As the years go by, I've been working hard to serve the team. I love my fans and ask that they continue to support me. Without them, I couldn't have reached this point. I also ask that they support the young players who have emerged and are fighting for the nation."

Samatta, a pivotal figure in Tanzanian football, expressed his gratitude to the fans who have supported him throughout his career. 

"There is a certain weariness that comes with age. I need time to rest. The fans have raised me, most have watched me grow from a young player, and their support has been crucial to my success," he said.

In his heartfelt address, Samatta urged current and upcoming players to continue the legacy he has helped to build. 

"What we have achieved since I started serving Taifa Stars should be continued by the current players. I ask them to do a great job with the aim of developing the quality and history of our team. Let's support them and not let them down. They are fighters, and I have great faith in them. I believe they will continue to move the wheel and finally achieve their goals," he added.

Despite Samatta's intentions, the country’s soccer governing body is reluctant to accept his resignation. TFF general secretary Wilfred Kidao recently addressed the issue, indicating that the federation is not prepared to let such a valuable player go without further discussion. 

"We cannot let a player with a CV as impressive as his resign so easily. We, as TFF leaders, are not ready for that. We will sit down and talk to him," he said.

Samatta's contributions to Tanzanian football are well-documented. He has been a beacon of talent and dedication, inspiring both teammates and fans. His leadership on and off the field has been instrumental in the team's achievements and in raising the profile of Tanzanian football on the international stage.

Born on December 23, 1992, in Dar es Salaam, Samatta began his professional career with Simba SC, His exceptional skills and relentless drive soon earned him a move to TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he became a key player, and led the team to several victories, including the CAF Champions League title in 2015. 

His performance in Africa caught the eye of European scouts, and he subsequently joined Belgium's KRC Genk, where he continued to excel.

Samatta's journey did not stop there. He made history as the first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League when he signed with Aston Villa in January 2020. 

Although his time in England was short-lived, he left an indelible mark, demonstrating the potential of Tanzanian footballers on the world stage. He later moved to Turkey, where he continues to play at a high level.

Throughout his career, Samatta has been a symbol of perseverance and excellence. His decision to step back from international football marks the end of an era for the Taifa Stars, but his influence will undoubtedly endure.

The federation's refusal to accept his resignation outright reflects the high regard in which he is held and the hope that his experience and leadership can continue to benefit the team.

As discussions between Samatta and the TFF unfold, the football community in Tanzania watches closely. Regardless of the outcome, Samatta's legacy is firmly established, and his contributions to the game will be remembered for years to come. 

His call for continued support for the team and emerging talents highlights his enduring commitment to Tanzanian football, even as he contemplates stepping away from the national spotlight.