Taifa Stars skipper Mbwana Samatta’s omission explained

By Michael Mwebe , The Guardian
Published at 01:16 PM Mar 15 2024
Taifa Stars' captain, Mbwana Samatta.
Photo: Guardian Correspondent
Taifa Stars' captain, Mbwana Samatta.

TANZANIA's Taifa Stars captain Mbwana Samatta is among the notable absentees from the latest squad that was announced for the newly introduced FIFA series games.

Acting head coach Hemed Suleiman instead turned to Young Africans SC’s youngster Clement Mzize for one of the forward slots.

Also missing from the squad, unveiled on Wednesday, is veteran Young Africans SC defender Dickson Job who left out at the expense of his teammate Bakari Mwamnyeto and Simba SC’s Kennedy Juma who are both struggling for game time.

Samatta’s absence was initially not explained but the Tanzania Football Federation has now come out to reveal it is due to a personal request from the Greece-based PAOK Thessaloniki striker.

"Taifa Stars captain, Mbwana Samatta has requested not to be included in the squad called for the FIFA Series games. He spoke with the coach before the squad was announced and his request was accepted," TFF statement read.

The 31-year-old striker has scored three goals and assisted a further three in 32 appearances for PAOK Thessaloniki this season. He did not feature in PAOK’s last game.

With 69 caps under his belt, Samatta is one of the longest-serving members of the Taifa Stars.

He made his senior debut 13 years ago in an international friendly against Palestine.

The then Taifa Stars head coach introduced him as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 home victory.

The former TP Mazembe and Simba SC striker will now miss Taifa Stars’ two games against Bulgaria and Mongolia in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tanzania will open their campaign against Bulgaria on March 22 at the Dalga Arena, the same day hosts Azerbaijan face Mongolia. 

Taifa Stars will return to action on March 25 against Mongolia, while Azerbaijan faces Mongolia.

Taifa Stars full ssquad: 

Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula (Simba) Aboutwalib Mshery (Yanga) Kwesi Kawawa (Syrianska FC, Sweden).

Defenders: Bakari Mwamnyeto, Ibrahim Hamad (Yanga) Lusajo Mwaikenda (Azam FC), Haji Mnoga ( Aldershot Town, England), Mohamed Hussein (Simba SC), Novatus Dismas (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Kennedy Juma (Simba SC),  Miano Danilo (SC Villena CF, Spain). 

Midfielders: Feisal Salum (Azam FC), Mudathir Yahya (Yanga), Morice Michael (RFK Novi Sad, Serbia), Himid Mao (Tala'ea El Gaish, Egypt) Yahya Zaydi (Azam) Tarryn Allarakhia (Wealdstone, England)

Forwards: Clement Mzize (Yanga), Simon Msuva (Alnajmah FC, Saudi Arabia), Kibu Denis (Simba SC), Abdul Suleiman (Azam FC), Ben Starkie (Ilkeston Town, England) Charles M'mombwa (Macarthur FC, Australia)