European football beckons for Tanzanian teenager Kelvin John

Tuesday January 21 2020
mbappe pic

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian teenage sensation Kelvin John is set to join the list of local players plying their trades abroad.

The 17-year-old striker will join Belgium’s KRC Genk next year, according to his manager Mbaki Mutahaba

If that happens, John, who been on the fringes of Genk since last year, will be the second Tanzanian to feature for the Belgian giants.

Former Simba and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe ace striker Mbwana Samatta was the first local player to play in the Belgian league.

Samatta, who joined Genk in 2016, parted ways with the club last week after signing for Aston Villa – an English Premier League side.

Villa are expected to officially name Saamatta – the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, captain – as their new signing later this week.

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Mbappe, who features for both the national Under-17 and Under-20 teams, will join Genk after turning 18.

“Genk need a youngster of John’s calibre. If all goes well, he sign for Genk early next year,” said Mutahaba yesterday.

He added: “Genk like his mentality and attitude, and obviously his goal-scoring record speaks for itself.”

Samatta, arguably one of the best strikers Tanzania has ever produced, has been in England since last week.

A few months ago, he became the first Tanzanian player to feature and score in the Uefa Champions League when Genk lost 6-2 to Redbull Salzburg.

Back home, there are several up-and-coming hoping to attain what he has attained, and perhaps move to the elite European clubs.

And John stands out in many of the budding players. He has already earned a call to Taifa Stars.

According to John, Samatta is like his elder brother.

“He has been advising me on what and how I should do to excel internationally. He is a player I want to emulate,” said John.

Last year, John had trials at Genk with their youth set-up.

He successfully completed his trials, according to his manager.