By Fungai Muderere
Warriors midfield dynamo Marvelous Nakamba last week became the 12th signing for English Premiership side Aston Villa, a development that could have naturally sent shivers down his spine.
However, for the Hwange-born Nakamba, meeting a familiar face in the name of Wesley Moraes in the Villa camp, a player whom they played together at Belgian side Club Brugge, has positively impacted on his confidence.
Aston Villa also has centre-back Bjorn Engels who also previously turned out for Club Brugge.
“Wesley has been telling me a lot of positive things about the club (Aston Villa). For me, it is important to have familiar faces in camp and I’m happy to have Wesley in the same dressing room. It has been a dream come true for me. I have always wished to play in one of the top leagues in the world and I am looking forward to playing against the best players in the Premier League,” said Nakamba.
It has been suggested that the deal for the midfielder cost Villa around £11m and so they must certainly be confident that the former Njube High School pupil, ticks the right boxes to give coach David Smith an important option in the middle of the park.
About Nakamba’s abilities, Highlanders technical manager, Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu, one of the many gaffers who worked with the player during their days at Bantu Rovers and in the country’s Under-20 team said:
“His strengths are in tackling, passing, ball interception and concentration. He also likes to take long range shots. He is young but he has seen it all in Europe.”
Of course, Nakamba (25) did not fly from Hwange to Birmingham — it was a long journey via Bulawayo, Nancy (France), Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands) and Bruges (Belgium).
Judging from their pre-season performances and results, Aston Villa appear to have bought very well thus far as the new faces have reportedly settled in well and have adapted to their style of play, with promising victories over Walsall and Charlton being secured.
Naturally through, the standard will step up significantly when they start the Premier League campaign against Tottenham, and so Smith and Villa will have to be confident that the quality of players — Nakamba included — that they have brought in will be enough to help them avoid an immediate return to the lower wrung of English premiership.
“Marvelous fits the criteria of the type of player we were looking for,” Smith recently told the club’s official website.
He further reckoned about the Warrior: “He is very mobile, he is very good in possession and he will fit in with our style of play.”
With the English Premier Soccer League action set to start on Friday, we eagerly await to see the Hwange boy being a real Zimbabwe football ember that will refuse to stop burning deep in Birmingham. B-Metro