Following his move from Club Brugge, Marvelous Nakamba is starting to wow Aston Villa fans with his assured performances.
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Born in Hawange in Zimbabwe, Nakamba was given given the unique and intriguing forename ‘Marvelous’ by his parents Charity and Anthony, simply because his birth was “marvellous news” to them as he was their first born son.
He experienced a difficult upbringing in Bulawayo. Money was scarce, forcing his mother to travel hundreds of miles to South Africa to earn the money to keep the family in a one-room rented home and buy the basics. She bought Marvelous his first pair of Puma football boots so he could play the game he loved.
Football was the outlet for Marvelous, as he strove to follow in the footsteps of fellow Zimbabwean football star Peter Ndlovu – who is remembered particularly by Coventry City, Birmingham City and Sheffield United fans for whom he racked up over 400 appearances between 1991 and 2004. The drive to emulate Peter’s success and to help to support his family were the driving forces for the young Nakamba.
He gained his first professional contract in 2012 in France, with Association Sportive Nancy-Lorraine. In July 2014, Nakamba went on trial at Dutch Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem before signing a four-year deal at 20-years-old just a month later. He made 69 appearances for Vitesse before signing for Club Brugge in 2017.
Aston Villa fans first became aware of Nakamba when it was reported that he had gone on strike at Brugge in protest at the club blocking a move to B6. The player has confirmed that the reports were ‘simply not true’, and that he had in fact suffered an injury in training after the African Cup of Nations match against Egypt.
After getting up to the fitness standards required for the Premier League, Nakamba made his first appearance for Aston Villa for their 6-1 drubbing of of Crewe in the Carabao Cup on 27th August.
He then made an impressive Premier League debut at Villa Park in a 0-0 draw against West Ham, and also played a solid role in the late defeat at Arsenal, but was already winning over the Villa fans with his no-nonsense tackling and accurate distribution of the ball.
Despite another disappointing result in drawing at home with Burnley last Saturday, Nakamba confirmed what some Aston Villa fans had begun to realise over the last few players… that the Zimbabwean midfielder can play!
He took the plaudits as Aston Villa’s Man of the Match with some impressive statistics, such as a 90% passing accuracy with forty-five of fifty attempts finding a team-mate. He also recovered the ball twelve times, won five out of seven duels and made seven interceptions. Those defensive stats are all well and good, but he also created three shooting opportunities for Aston Villa too.
Nakamba has already drawn comparisons with the excellent N’Golo Kanté of Chelsea, which although complimentary to the new Aston Villa star, are also completely unfair.
Kanté is Kanté, but to Aston Villa fans, Nakamba is proving to be simply marvellous!