The former TP Mazembe star has made it clear he would hang his international boots if he leads Taifa Stars to the global competition
Aston Villa forward Mbwana Samatta has declared Tanzania’s 2022 World Cup qualification would be the culmination of his career.
The East Africans have never qualified for the world tournament and Samatta will have the daunting task of helping them achieve just that as the country looks upon him for inspiration.
The former Simba SC centre-forward became the first Tanzanian to sign for a Premier League side in January 2020. To him, Taifa Stars qualification for the Qatar World Cup would be a proper way to crown an adventurous career.
- Aubameyang signed da ting! Arsenal ace can now become a club legend like Henry & Wright
- ‘He sees the light of the first team’ – Elanga the latest Man Utd teenager looking to impress Solskjaer
- Neymar on Gonzalez: My only regret is not hitting that asshole in the face
- Mourinho slams ‘lazy’ Tottenham players and questions mentality after Everton defeat
“Yes, that [World Cup qualification] would be the ultimate and would complete my footballing journey. There’d be nothing left after that but to retire,” the former KRC Genk star told Fifa.com.
Samatta was key in Taifa Stars’ successful qualification journey for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which ended a 40-year wait.
“Qualifying for that tournament is certainly the best memory of my career to date, and there’ve been some wonderful ones,” Samatta said.
“It really was something special both for me and my country.”
Although Tanzania – then under Nigerian coach Emmanuel Amuneke – did not impress at the tournament in Egypt, Samatta believes they can make amends if they qualify for the 2021 edition.
Tanzania were eliminated after losing all their group matches to Senegal where they went down 2-0 before suffering a second 3-0 defeat against eventual champions Algeria.
They managed to score their only two goals against Kenya but were unlucky to be defeated 3-2 by their neighbours in the last group match.
“I don’t want to dwell on that anymore [Afcon setback],” added the Aston Villa star. “It’s behind us now and I’d rather look to the future. We’ll make amends!”
After beating Burundi in the World Cup qualification preliminary round, Tanzania were pooled together with DR Congo, Benin and Madagascar in the group stage. Samatta believes the team is in the right developmental path.
“If you look at where the national team was five years ago, this is not the same Taifa Stars. Enormous progress has been made,” he concluded.
“We’re developing slowly but surely. I’m daring to believe that the rate of progress can be the same for the next five years with the best yet to come for the team.”
He has scored 21 goals from 57 matches for his national team.