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Aston Villa flop Samatta to face Kenya

Aston Villa flop Mbwana Samatta and fellow-big name striker John Bocco headline a star-studded squad named by new Tanzania coach Kim Poulsen for two friendly matches against Kenya in March.

Poulsen who replaced Burundian Etienne Ndayiragije this month has also summoned Simba goalkeeper Aishi Manula and attacker Thomas Ulimwengu for this contest in Nairobi aimed at fine-tuning the Taifa Stars squad ahead of the remaining 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches against Equatorial Guinea and Libya.

Also making the cut ahead of this derby are Simba SC players Erasto Nyoni, Jonas Mkude, and Mohamed Hussein, alongside Yanga duo Bakari Mwamnyeto and Metacha Mnata.

Samatta is Tanzania’s poster boy.

He scored and set up another goal when Tanzania lost 3-2 to Kenya at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. He is also remembered in local circles for both winning the Caf Champions League during his stint at Congolese club TP Mazembe, being named best Africa-based player, and topping the scoring charts in Belgium before struggling to make an impact following a high-profile transfer to England.

He is currently on loan in Turkey, at Fenerbeche, where he plays alongside German midfielder Mesut Ozil.

On the other hand, Kenya coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee is yet to name his foreign-based squad for this game, but the locally based group has the likes of AFC Leopards forward Elvis Rupia and Gor Mahia’s Benson Omala.

Harambee Stars are virtually out of the running to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon following a below-par performance against Comoros in November, but still have matches at home to Egypt and away to Togo lined up.