Today, Aston Villa has confirmed that it has completed Mbwana Samatta’s signing in a £ 8.5 million deal from Genk.
Understandably, fans of Villa (and the nation of Tanzania) can’t wait to see their new man in action. Tanzania’s “Champion Boy” will be the first player in the nation to perform in the Premier League.
Before then – Villa had to deal with the return leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Leicester City. Things are balanced at 1-1 in the tie, but will Samatta be involved in the game or will he cheer from the stands?
Sky Sports initially reported that Samatta cannot play in the game against Leicester – but will be available for the final if Villa moves forward.
The rules of the EFL Carabao Cup manual are not particularly clear – but from a reading it seems that Samatta should be available for the second stage – if his work permit passes and his international clearance is successful.
It is possible that the EFL has to make a decision – and it will depend on whether the “legs” of the semifinal count as a game or two.
If they count as two games, Samatta should be eliminated and ready to play as he was registered and ready before the second leg.
If games count as “one” game – as is the case in the English Cup in the event of a repeat – Samatta would not be available to play since he was registered after the start of the first leg.
There is a precedent though – according to Twitter, Oumar Niasse played for Hull in the second leg after signing after the first leg had ended.
The rules don’t clarify it, and since it’s based on a reading of the regulation, Samatta should take sides against Leicester City – until the EFL state does otherwise.