Although his Belgian side KRC Genk lost 6-2 to RB Salzburg in Austria in a Group E game of Europe’s prestigious club competition on Tuesday night, most Tanzanians were pleased to see their prodigy man putting up a strong performance.
He shrugged off a knee injury he picked during the Taifa Stars’ World Cup qualifying clash against Burundi to make it into the Genk squad for Tuesday evening’s opener against the Austrian Bundesliga outfit.
Samatta’s header gave Genk a glimmer of hope just seven minutes into the second half, however, the goal was not enough to serve his side from heavy defeat from the Austrian champions RB Salzburg but Samatta managed to set three records in Genk obliteration.
“I don’t care about KRC Genk losing this match...what impressedmeis Samatta(Mbwana)performance.
goodthathe scored,” said former Simba and Taifa Stars right back Aboubakar Kombo.
His sentiments was echoed by football pundit and former Kariakoo Lindi midfielder, Jemedari Said, who said that Samatta’s performance which was capped with a perfect header has proved that he is a striker of the top quality.
“He should keep scoring at that top stage in Europe to attract top and winning teams...for me, it is just a matter of time before we see him elsewhere,” said Jemedari.
Samatta’s maiden appearance went sour as Erling Haland’s hattrick gave the hosts a 5-1 advantage at half-time with Jhon Lucumi getting his club’s lone goal.
However, he got something to cheer about after scoring his side’s second goal of the evening after 52 minutes.
With that, he also became the first Tanzanian to score a Champions League goal as well as the first man from the East African nation to make a scoring debut in the tournament.
Kenyan McDonald Mariga, who played as a defensive mid- fielder made history as the first Kenyan and East African footballer to play in the UEFA Champions League.
He featured for Italian giants Inter Milan in the 2010 UCL Mariga also became the first East African player to feature in UEFA Champions League final of the same year.
The final was staged at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid on May 22nd, in which Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho beat Bayern Munich 2–0 to win the European title.
They completed the treble, a feat never before achieved by any team from either Italy or Ger- many.
Mariga’s younger brother Victor Wanyama, featuring for Tot- tenham Hotspurs also joined the ranks of East African players, who featured in UEFA Champions League.
And the history-maker Samatta was disappointed with the loss as they await the Italian Serie A side Napoli in their next game to be held on October 2 at Luminus Arena in Genk, before facing the defending champions Liverpool in Group E for a place in the next stage.
The Belgian champions Genk have played in the Champions League group stage twice before, in 2002 and 2011, but has failed to win any of its 13 games to date.
The victory sends Salzburg to the top of the early Group E standings ahead of Napoli, who beat holders Liverpool 2-0 in Naples.
The former Tanzania football giantsSimba and CongoleseTP Mazembe hero respectively joined the Smurfs three seasons ago, and have scored over 40 goals for Mazzu’s team.