It's official. Tanzania national team captain Ally Mbwana Samatta has moved to the English Premier League.
The serial goal-getter is now an Aston Villa player after the Birmingham side paid a total of £8.5m for transfer from Racing Club Genk of Belgium.
There has been some sense of happiness in the East African region with Kenyans taking to social media to describe Samatta as one of their own.
The real happiness though if from the people of Tanzania who, for the first time in their footballing history will have a representative in one of the most prestigious league’s in the world. But who is the new Villa boy?
Son of retired policeman Ally Samatta, Mbwana was born on December 23, 1992, in the city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Having shown a glimpse of what he could do in his earlier years in the streets of Dar, Samagoal, as he is popularly known by his fans, began his footballing career in 2008 with African Lyon in his hometown. He was to turn professional two years later when Tanzania giants Simba Sports Club were to acquire his services.
After bagging 13 goals in 25 appearances for Simba, his heroics was to hand him a deal with African giants TP Mazembe in 2011. He spent five years with the DR Congo side scoring 60 goals in his 103 appearances, winning the 2015 African player of the year award and firing the club to the CAF Champions League and finishing the season as top scorer.
His 2015 heroics saw Belgium side Genk hand him a four-and-a-half-year deal in 2016. Even in his new environment, the player continued to flourish in front of goal and has constantly been linked with a move outside Belgium.
Last season, the soft-spoken striker bagged 23 goals to fire Genk to a fourth Belgian league title in their history; Samatta capping his glorious campaign with the Ebony Shoe Award (the award given to the best African player in Belgium). He leaves the club having bagged 76 goals in his 101 appearances.
In the summer, Samatta was linked with a move to Leicester City, Watford, Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa. It was just a matter of time before his departure and after shining in the club’s Champions League campaign where he scored a goal at Anfield against Liverpool, Villa thought it was the right time to pounce on their target.
The 27-year-old who has bagged 20 goals in his 56 apps for Tanzania will now be tasked with saving Dean Smith's Villa from Premier League relegation.
He becomes the fourth East African to grace the Premier League League after Kenya's and Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Victor Wanyama and Burundi's duo of Sadio Berahinho (West Bromwich Albion) and Gael Birigimana (Newcastle United)
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