Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse new Zimbabwean signing Marvelous Nakamba has recounted the days he dined with Chelsea’s famed stars from late last month until early August.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The 20-year-old midfield made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean to be signed by a Dutch top-flight league club and will spend the next four years at the GelreDome Arnhem.
He was previously on the books of French League2 side AS Nancy.
Featuring in the last 26 minutes of their pre-season friendly against Chelsea on July 30, he had the chance to ride a John Terry tackle, tussle against defenders Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic as well as rubbing shoulders with Spaniards Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Fernanndo Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Growing up in Bulawayo, never did he ever dream that he would force goalkeeper Petr Cech to save his attempt at goal, or have Jose Mourinho instruct his players against him.
Not only did he interact with the Chelsea stars in a game situation, but outside as well as Chelsea used Vitesse’s training facilities for their pre-season camp in Netherlands.
The two clubs shared National Sports Centre Papendal for training.
“Eish, it was like a dream looking from where I came from and I thank God who made me believe impossible is nothing,” said Nakamba.
“I felt some pressure when we had lunch together with the Chelsea guys just before the match. I was asking myself ‘is it me going to be playing against John Terry, Fabregas, Torres and Diego Costa?’ I could not believe it. Sitting with players who have Uefa Champions League medals and who participated at the World Cup was just something else to me. My family back home was proud of me and could not stop calling me.
“During the match, I just told myself that I am here for football just like all these stars. Those Chelsea guys are so professional in the way they do their things. It is always about time in everything they do.”
He says he managed to have a chat with Nigerian star midfielder John Obi Mikel who was close to his Vitesse Burkinabe teammate Bertrand Traore who is on loan from Chelsea.
Interestingly, Vitesse are a feeder club to the English premiership giants who loan players to them.
“I just want to work hard and do my best at Vitesse. If the chance comes I will grab it because it is everyone’s dream to play for a big team like Chelsea. But for now, my focus is with Vitesse and I want to give my everything to them and help them win trophies,” he said.
Sadly, Nakamba has been a victim of national team coaches who never cared about his development at AS Nancy who spotted him at the Dallas Cup with Bantu Rovers in 2010.
“It is every player’s dream to represent the national team and when needed, I will not hesitate to come and play,” he said.” He is eligible for the Zimbabwe’s Olympics football squad.
Nakamba played in the Castle Premier Soccer League with Bantu Rovers as a raw teenager in 2010 and 2011 and once had trials with Belgian Jupiler side Cercle Brugge during that period together with Warriors midfielder Danny Phiri.
He was part of the Under-20 national team that included Kuda Mahachi, Denver Mukamba, Russell Madamombe and Dynamos forward Simba Sithole.
Mukamba moved to Bidvest Wits, but failed to impress and is now on loan at Pretoria University while Mahachi is at Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sithole is a South African returnee having tried his luck at Sundowns and later at SuperSport United with little success.