Zimbabwe international striker, Tino Kadewere, and midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, were thrown into the starting XI of their clubs in France and England last night.
Kadewere, who came in as a substitute for Olympique Lyon, in the French side’s last game, was thrust into the starting ine-up for the league match against Montpellier.
Lyon coach, Rudi Garcia, threw Kadewere into the fray, ahead of highly-rated Dutchman and captain, Memphis Depay, who has been tipped to move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
French international forward, Moussa Dembele, was also pushed onto the bench.
While Kadewere has been confident he could crack, into the Lyon starting XI, he is unlikely to have dreamt that his big chance would come this early.
His Warriors counterpart, Nakamba, also made his first start for English Premiership side, Aston Villa, in the second round of the Carabao Cup last night.
The match came just six months after Villa lost 1-2 in the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City at Wembley in March.
Nakamba lost his place, in the Villa first team, towards the end of the season as the Birmingham side battled their way to safety.
However, Villa manager, Dean Smith, threw Nakamba into the mix last night in what was his team’s first competitive match this season.
Villa were not in action, in the first week of the Premiership campaign, and hosted Manchester United in a friendly, at Villa Park, which they won 1-0.
There had been speculation Nakamba was set to leave Villa Park this season.
However, it’s now certain that the Zimbabwean holding midfielder will stay, for another season, at the club.
The same, though, cannot be said about his Tanzanian counterpart, Mbwana Samatta.
The striker’s future at the club continues to come under the microscope with fresh reports claiming there is new interest in his services.
Samatta, 27, was an £8.5 million arrival from Belgian club Genk in the January transfer window having finished as top scorer in the Pro League in the 2018/19 season.
He provided a much-needed boost to Smith’s attacking options after Wesley suffered a long-term knee injury in the win at Burnley on New Year’s Day.
But, with Villa having broken their transfer record to land Ollie Watkins from Brentford — and planning to sign another new forward — Samatta is already being linked with a move away from the club.
Reports in Turkey have indicated that Besiktas are interested and now TV channel A Spor say Fenerbahce are also keen in the striker’s services.
The report claims Samatta is seen a “top target’’ for the Super Lig side after the departure of last season’s top scorer Vedat Muriqi to Lazio and a loan move could be wrapped up before the end of the month.
Samatta scored once in 14 Premier League appearances as Villa achieved safety and struck in the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City at Wembley.
Whether it be at Villa Park or elsewhere, the Tanzania international is intent on improving in the upcoming campaign.
Posting a picture on Instagram alongside Villa coach John Terry earlier this month, Samatta said “From the beginning, it has been a dream.
“I used to watch them play in a local joint; today let me admit I am lucky or maybe it is through the hard work that I am now working with them.
“It might be luck or hard work or both but I am happy with what I have achieved.
“I have not yet reached where I want to be. However, I take this opportunity to challenge all the upcoming players to give their best knowing they can achieve their dreams.
“It is possible, you cannot fail.”
Meanwhile, attacking midfielder, Bertrand Traore, yesterday passed his medical at Villa and is now set to join the club from French side Olympic Lyon. — The Herald/BirminghamLive