Samatta, Shalulile and Pele (yes, really) to star in today’s qualifiers

Samatta, Shalulile and Pele (yes, really) to star in today’s qualifiers
Mbwana Samatta of Tanzania celebrate his goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Kenya and Tanzania at 30 June Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 27 June 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 04, 2019. 12:00

We take a look at a star player to watch in each of the eight first round, first-leg matches taking place in Africa’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers today.

Burundi v Tanzania, 15:00 (all times CAT)

Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania) – Tanzania’s captain and lead forward has enjoyed a great start to the 2019/20 season with his Belgian club Genk, scoring five goals in six Pro League appearances. His battle with Burundi defender Frederic Nsabiyumva could decide the tie.

Eritrea v Namibia, 15:00

Peter Shalulile (Namibia) – The 26-year-old forward has made a great start to the new season with South African club Highlands Park, scoring three goals in four league matches. If he can bring that form to the Denden Stadium in Asmara, then the Brave Warriors will be on course for an away win.

Ethiopia v Lesotho, 15:00

Sera Motebang (Lesotho) – The South African-based forward recently scored his first goal in the Absa Premiership, netting for Bloemfontein Celtic in their loss at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns last month. Likuena face a tough first leg in Bahir Dar but Motebang could offer a potent threat for a priceless away goal.

South Sudan v Equatorial Guinea, 16:00

Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea) – The captain and top scorer in Equatorial Guinea’s current squad, Emilio Nsue now plays his club football with Apollon in Cyprus. The 29-year-old will look to add to his international goal tally in Nzalang Nacional’s trip to Omdurman.

Mauritius v Mozambique, 16:30

Edson Mexer (Mozambique) – The experienced, French-based defender will look to help Mozambique keep a clean sheet in their trip to Belle Vue. Mexer will lead the defence alongside Edmilson Dove, while Luis Miquissone will be tasked with getting the goals.

Djibouti v Eswatini, 17:00

Warsama Hassan (Djibouti) – A young midfielder with Belgian club RFC Seraing, Warsama Hassan was convinced by new coach Julien Mette to swap national allegiance after representing the European country at youth level. He’ll be Djibouti’s trump card for the visit of Eswatini.

Sao Tome and Principe v Guinea Bissau, 17:30

Pele (Guinea Bissau) – Judilson Mamadu Tuncara Gomes, better known as Pele, will have a tough time living up to his moniker, but he has impressed hugely while playing for Reading in the EFL Championship and will be expected to run the game for the Djurtus for their trip to Sao Tome.

Liberia v Sierra Leone, 20:00

Seth Kanteh Hellberg (Liberia) – A midfielder based in Sweden with IK Brage, 24-year-old Seth Kanteh Hellberg is a newcomer for Liberia. He was born to a Liberian mother and Swedish father and is one of 13 overseas-based players in their squad.

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