The Tanzanian forward will need Villa fans to get behind him in his first few months at Aston Villa.

Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH


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Imagine having a country the size of Tanzania supporting you as you embark on the biggest adventure in your career to date.

It’s not something that you can easily compare. Nothing like your first day at a new university, or the new job you have been yearning for. The everyday person can’t begin to comprehend having almost 60,000,000 people wanting you to succeed and supporting you in any way possible.

That is the reality for one Mbwana Ally Samatta, who has made his move from Genk in Belgium to one of the great peaks of European football – the Premier League – with Aston Villa.

Many footballers work their entire lives to reach the league, and on any given weekend with a full schedule, there are anywhere up to 360 individual players picked for Premier League action.

Samatta has worked hard to be included in that type of company. The type of company that you must be considered good enough, bright enough and talented enough to be in.

By now, the story of Mbwana Samatta has been told a time or two within circles of Aston Villa supporters. At 27 years of age, the Tanzanian forward has won the Ebony Shoe in Belgium, classifying him as one of the best footballers in the country, and has a respectable goalscoring record. On top of all this, he genuinely seems like a very pleasant human being.

Bringing this kind of personality to a football club like Aston Villa isn’t something that can be understated. There is one objective this season – and that’s survival in a season that so far has had its ebbs and flows of unfavourable results, VAR controversies, injuries in key positions and more.

The forward, who is yet to play a professional game for Aston Villa, finds himself with the support of Tanzania no matter what may unfold over the remaining games this season. In the same breath, he may feel the pressure from the at times blunt Aston Villa fanbase.

Known to be loud and passionate and to travel in numbers, the passion is heard in songs and applause and support – but less often, the passionate support can take a left-hand turn into something that passes judgement too quickly.

Samatta needs to hear the Aston Villa faithful from the very first second that he graces the pitch in the claret and blue – in fact, he deserves to hear it.

Whether or not he can provide the goals to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League, he deserves to know that he can create a story, a legend at Villa Park like previous forwards at the club.

If the supporters have his back through dry spells, incandescence and darkness, everyone who loves Aston Villa wins.

If he makes a mistake, sing the ‘Samagoal’ song. If he scores a goal, sing the ‘Samagoal’ song. If he doesn’t hit the ground running, like most expect him to, that’s okay too.

There may be some 60,000,000 people supporting Mbwana Samatta – but it will mean a lot more if the 40,000 plus at Villa Park are just as passionate in their support.

He deserves it.

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