Former AFC Leopards midfielder Francis Xavier has claimed Victor Wanyama is East Africa’s biggest football export despite the emergence of Mbwana Samatta.
Xavier said Samatta needs more time to prove his worth in the English Premier League, unlike Wanyama who has been in England for a longer period of time.
“In terms of achievement, Wanyama has done better than Samatta for now. Samatta has just landed in [England] and yes he has got one goal but it is too early to have shown the world he is so special,” Xavier told Goal.
“Let us see what he can do in the next two or three years then judge whether he is an East African star more than Wanyama has been.
“Let us give him more time.”
Xavier explained how Wanyama and his elder brother McDonald Mariga’s participation in the Champions League is proof the duo have had better times in Europe than the Tanzanian captain, who scored three goals for Genk in this season’s Champions League campaign.
“Our two sons [Wanyama and Mariga] have played in the Champion League and one became a champion before the other reached the final just last season,” continued Xavier.
“Let us wait and see what Samatta can do before we start comparing him with Wanyama and his brother Mariga.
“For now, it would be illogical to compare the two Kenyans and the Tanzanian in terms of achievement. Even in terms of salaries, I believe there is a huge mismatch between Wanyama and Samatta.”
“Certainly, they must be proud of him. You can remember when Mariga played in the Champions League we were very happy as a nation,” said Xavier.
“Even the few minutes on the pitch [against Chelsea in his debut] made an impact because it was written in history books that a Kenyan is part of a Champions League-winning team.
“Tanzanians must be proud of their son. This is good for both Tanzania and East Africa because it shows we have the potential of producing quality footballers and what we lack in this region is exposure only otherwise we have got talents.”
On whether the Tanzanians fans should laugh at their Kenyan counterparts as Samatta graces his first Carabao Cup final, Xavier said Kenyans have had better laughs than what the Carabao Cup can bring.
“Let Tanzanians be polite and know Kenyans still rule this part of the world football-wise and this is history written in indelible ink,” he concluded.
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