ZIMBABWE youth international midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has vowed to pick himself up after narrowly missing French top football division promotion with his League Two side AS Nancy-Lorraine on Friday night.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
After graduating into Nancy’s first team from the reserve side in January, the 20-year-old took part in six games including Friday’s six-minute substitute appearance in the 0-0 draw away at Benjani Mwaruwari’s former club AJ Auxerre.
Nancy travelled to Auxerre needing an outright win while praying that their closest rivals Lens would lose to CA Bastia. But Lens beat relegated Bastia 2-0.
Although most of Nakamba’s appearances were cameo roles, last week he lasted the entire match in the 3-1 win over Angers after making his senior debut against Tours in February.
Had Nancy been promoted, Nakamba would have become the fourth Zimbabwean to play in League One after Benjani Mwaruwari, Harlington Shereni and Ovidy Karuru.
“It is very painful failing to get promoted on the last day of the season,” said Nakamba.
“We tried our best especially in the second half of the season where we were an improved side and we will come back stronger next season. Being introduced into the first team at a critical stage where the club was hard-pressed for promotion shows the coach has confidence in me and I am looking forward to playing more regularly next season.
“Although I did not play in the first half of the season, I was happy with the other part of the season. The experience of playing against the likes of Auxerre is a promising sign of my career.”
The attacking midfielder joined AS Nancy in June 2012 from Bantu Rovers.
He was spotted by the French club earlier that year while playing in the Dallas Cup with Rovers in USA amid renewed interest from Belgian side Cercle Brugge where he underwent trials in 2010 together with Warriors midfielder Danny Phiri.
“I think I did my best at Cercle Brugge but they were still deciding on whether to take me or not and that’s when Nancy came in and snapped me up,” he said.
Nakamba played in the Premier Soccer League with Bantu Rovers as a raw teenager in 2010 and 2011.
He was part of the Under-20 national team that included Kudakwashe Mahachi, Denver Mukamba, Russell Madamombe and Dynamos striker Simba Sithole.