Tanzanian international striker Mbawana Samatta hopes that his career can prove to be a source of inspiration and that many of his countrymen will follow him into the English Premier League.
The 27-year-old joined Aston Villa from Belgian Jupiler League side Genk on a four-and-a-half-year deal worth £10 million in January, becoming the first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League following a scoring debut for Villa in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth on February 1 2020.
“When I was starting my professional career, the ultimate goal I set myself was to play in England,” he said in a recent interview. “But more than a goal achieved, coming here was, above all, the realization of a dream. It’s a dream that a great many Tanzanian players pursue but one that had never been achieved before. I realize therefore how fortunate I am!”
“It’s a source of great personal pride, but I hope it can serve to help others,” he continued. “If I can succeed, then other Tanzanians can too. And if I can help them believe in themselves, so much the better!”
For Samatta, self-belief has been a key aspect of his success. His journey to the big stage of European football has not been without its obstacles, requiring him to show patience, perseverance and, above all, self-confidence. “Faith in God and faith in myself were the keys to my success,” he confirmed. “As well as that, there’s a lot of sacrifice, hard work, determination and discipline.”
The 27-year-old is already something of a legend in his homeland, having racked up 21 goals in 57 international appearances and playing a starring role in qualifying the Taifa Stars for the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, after a near 40-year absence.
“Qualifying for that tournament is certainly the best memory of my career to date, and there’ve been some wonderful ones,” he said, before adding: “It really was something special both for me and my country.”
However, Tanzania received a rude reintroduction to continental football at the finals in Egypt, where they suffered a first-round exit on the back of defeats to Senegal (2-0), Kenya (3-2) and Algeria (3-0). As captain, Samatta subsequently apologized to the fans and public on behalf of the team for letting them down. “I don’t want to dwell on that anymore. It’s behind us now and I’d rather look to the future,” he insisted, vowing, “we’ll make amends!”
The Taifa Stars have an immediate chance to redeem themselves. Not only are they in contention in the race to qualify for the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon (currently second in Group J behind Tunisia), they are very optimistic about a maiden FIFA World Cup™ appearance in 2022. After overcoming Burundi in the first round, they now find themselves alongside Congo DR, Benin and Madagascar in the group stage.
“If you look at where the national team was five years ago, this is not the same Taifa Stars. Enormous progress has been made. We’re developing slowly but surely,” he insisted. “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.”
Would the ideal culmination of that progress be participation at Qatar 2022? “Yes, that would be the ultimate and would complete my footballing journey. There’d be nothing left after that but to retire,” he concluded with a laugh.
Ethiopian House of Reps Approves Danish Loan for 100-MW Assela Wind Project
The loan was approved unanimously by the House of Peoples’ Representatives, and includes a five-year grace period.
The Ethiopian parliament has approved a loan agreement between the country’s finance ministry and Danish lender Danske Bank A/S (CPH:DANSKE). The loan which was agreed upon last week, is aimed at financing the 100-MW Assela wind farm project.
The loan which is to be repaid in 20 years, is for EUR 117.3 million (USD 136.5m). According to the parliament’s website, the loan was approved unanimously by the House of Peoples’ Representatives, and includes a five-year grace period.
The Danske Bank loan is supported by the government of Denmark through the country’s ministry of foreign affairs’ development assistance Danida.
With the funds made available, the Assela project is now advancing towards the construction phase.
Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (BME:SGRE) have been saddled with the responsibility of building the wind farm. The farm is expected to be located near the town of Iteya in the Oromia regional state, some 150 kilometres (93.2 miles) south of Addis Ababa.
The Danish embassy in Addis Ababa said once operations at the farm commence, the 29-turbine wind farm is expected to generate some 330,000 kWh annually and supply electricity to more than three million people.
In a statement provided by the Danish embassy, Seleshi Bekele, the Ethiopian minister of water, irrigation and energy, said “I am pleased to see the agreement to develop the Assela I Wind Farm, which will diversify the Ethiopian renewable energy mix, has been passed by the Parliament. I am grateful to the Danish government’s generosity to provide grant and concessional finance.”
Somalia Parliament Approves New Prime Minister
Mohamed Hussein occupies an office that was left vacant since the removal of former premier Hassan Ali Khaire
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a Prime Minister only hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons the one-person, one-vote model which was earlier promised.
Late on Thursday, the office of the president announced the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Sweden-trained civil engineer who is new on the political scene. He has been urged to take duties and tasks ahead of him with diligence.
Mohamed Hussein occupies an office that has been left vacant since the removal of former premier Hassan Ali Khaire by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
There had been ongoing negotiations between the government in Mogadishu and Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with the parliamentary and presidential elections.
The process has however been held-up by disagreements between the president and the country’s regional leaders.
The country had decided to hold its first fully democratic, one-man one-vote election since 1969, The past was a system where special delegates picked lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu had reached an agreement conceding that such a vote will not be possible between now and November which is the time left before Somalia’s parliament needs to be changed, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
The negotiators said in an official communique, that delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans will elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which will in turn choose the president.
While the process shares a resemblance with the last election held in 2017, it goes a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with a total of 27,775 delegates voting, nearly twice the total number from last time.
Uganda Repatriates 370 Nationals From Rwanda
Uganda on Wednesday repatriated 80 of its citizens from neighbouring Rwanda, an official has said.
Ms Anne Katusiime, the deputy head of mission at the Ugandan embassy in Rwanda, in a statement, said the East African country has repartriated a total of 370 of its nationals.
The returnees, who had been stuck in Rwanda due to Coronavirus-induced lockdown, entered their country through the Gatuna/Katuna border post.
“The High Commission of the Republic of Uganda in Kigali, Rwanda has successfully repatriated a group of 80 Ugandan nationals including children.
“This makes 273 so far repatriated massively in addition to the 97 people who were repatriated on a case by case basis.
“Total repatriated is 370,” the deputy head of mission at the Ugandan embassy in Rwanda, Ms Katusiime said in a statement.
“The first phase of Ugandans crossing from Rwanda was conducted on September 15, the second on September 19 and the third September 23.
“The Embassy undertook the registration and verification processes and coordinated their return aboard three Volcano buses and one private vehicle from Kigali through Gatuna/Katuna border destined for Kampala. I congratulate all the repatriated Ugandans for the resilience and patience they have exhibited during this trying period.
“This is the last group of stranded Ugandans to be repatriated from Rwanda. Other Ugandan nationals in Rwanda will have to wait until the situation is normal. I wish you safe journey and always abide by Ministry of Health guidelines to fight the spread of coronavirus,” Ms Katusiime said.
She said those repatriated include teachers whose contracts were terminated after schools were closed because of the coronavirus-induced lock down. Other bar workers and some business people that have opted to transfer their businesses back home.
According to her, a total of about 3,000 Ugandans had been staying in Rwanda before the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Ugandan immigration officials led by Mr Wallace Bindeeba received the repatriated Ugandans and said that they would be transported to Kampala where the ministry of health officials would determine where to quarantine them from for 14 days as per the coronavirus guidelines.
Mr Boogere Issah, the Chairman of the Ugandan Association in Rwanda lauded all Ugandans for their cooperation and support, in terms food relief and financial, to fellow Ugandans during the lockdown period and urged them to continue with the spirit.
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