STRIKER Mbwana Samatta has expressed his commitment to the national team, Taifa Stars, saying he will keep on improving his performance to even become a better player.
Samatta, who features for Belgium's top division side, KRC Genk has been on the spotlight for his performance in the national team colours recently, with some fans saying he is putting a below par display.
Shortly after Taifa Stars lost 2-1 to Libya in their second group J clash of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet Stadium in Monastir, Tunisia on Tuesday night, several football fans took to the social media network, criticising Samatta for his performance despite scoring.
Samatta gave Taifa Stars an 18th minute lead with a penalty straight through the middle after Simon Msuva was brought down inside the box by Mohamed Abrahim.
His goal sustained throughout the first half but things changed in the last stanza as Libya equalised in the similar fashion through a penalty kick by Sanad Al Warfali before Anis Saltou scored the winner in the 82nd minute.
While Taifa Stars were relatively comfortable in the first half, they were short on offensive threat.
Many attributed this to Samatta's attacking nous, saying his movements acted as a real barrier for his side as they attempted to break down a wellorganised Libyan side.
Despite beating Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in their opening match of group qualifiers at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam last week, many Taifa Stars fans were quick to criticise the performance of captain.
They argue that Samatta is not giving 100 per cent performance.
"Against Equatorial Guinea, he looked like a passenger at times in the first half and some questions began to emerge on his lack of impact after the game, and little has changed against Libya. "He lacked his usual intensity and the things he normally does with relative ease are becoming difficult for him, leaving Simon Msuva and Ditram Nchimbi somewhat isolated," wrote a fan on social media.
However, Samatta has also acknowledged receiving messages from various individuals, complaining about his dismal show in the national colours.
"I've received messages and comments from several individuals, saying that they are not pleased with my recent performance with the national team... anyway, I'm not taking it personal, rather I'm happy to hear people speaking their mind. I take it as a challenge, which should encourage me to work hard and keep improving and become a better player," he said.
Skipper Samatta conceded the defeat against Libya and said they still have an opportunity to reach far only if they prepare well in the remaining games.
"I have a different opinion. I think we had to either draw or win the match but in the end, we lost the game," Samatta said.
He added that if they could have netted a second goal after taking the lead, something positive was going to happen to Stars.
"In the second half, our opponents came refreshed and pushed us in our domain, thereby, getting a chance to score two goals and win the match," Samatta said.