THE Confederation of African Football has named Tanzanian striker, Mbwana Samatta among the aspirants of this year’s African Player of the Year Award, pitting him against 29 others from all over the continent.
His nomination was well received by Tanzanians as it makes him race against Africa’s big players in seeking the diadem. Unlike in the past when Tanzanians were just onlookers, this time around, they see themselves part of the race as their countryman is involved in it.
Samatta goal scoring touch for his team has helped his Belgian club, KRC Genk reach great heights to the extent, it was among the notable tough teams in the UEFA League.
It is good to see two other East Africans nominated for the award alongside Samatta, as their presence gives the region a huge boost in the award race.
They are Ugandan international goalkeeper, Dennis Onyango who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns and the Kenyan striker Michael Olunga, who features for Spanish club, Girona.
They will be also vying for award in a gala to be held on January 4 in Accra, Ghana.
For us it will be a race that pits Tanzania against the rest of Africa and it may as well go as East Africa against the rest of Africa as the list of 30 nominees has a big number of players from West Africa, most of them playing in big football leagues such as the English Premier League (EPL), Bundesliga, French Ligue 1 and Spanish La Liga.
It’s Samatta again who has become the lone shining star far away from home, we believe he is well capable of winning the title because he marches in skills with those who have won the title before.
Why shouldn’t he win again after doing it while with TP Mazembe when he became the first player from East Africa to be crowned the CAF African Player of the Year based on the continent?
We wish our lone jewel all the best in a chase for the title, and as well, we would like to urge all Tanzania rally behind him towards his desired goal.