IT’S only been four months since Nigel Makumbe joined Highlanders on loan from champions FC Platinum but the attacking midfielder is already proving to the player the Bulawayo giants cannot do without in their rebuilding mission.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Whenever the 21-year-old Aces Youth Soccer Academy product is available for selection, Highlanders seem to strike the right chord and when he’s absent from the lineup, Bosso always seem to catch a cold.
Some have gone to the extent of questioning if Highlanders could have achieved their fine start to the 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign in Makumbe’s absence?
With Makumbe as the major driving force, Highlanders took no prisoners to the start of the league programme as they went on a rampage, going seven matches unbeaten with five wins and two draws and beating arch-rivals Dynamos in Harare along the way.
Makumbe, who is on a one-year loan from FC Platinum, was the creative force behind Bosso’s potent attack due to his dribbling wizardry, ability to penetrate opposition defence through his range of passing which have earned him praises from his coach, Madinda Ndlovu.
Ndlovu said given a choice, he would have wanted Bosso to sign the player on a permanent basis, amid indications that FC Platinum might recall the player during the midseason transfer window period.
“Given an opportunity to get such kind of a player on a permanent basis, I don’t think there is any coach who can think twice,” Madinda said recently.
“He has come in and gelled very well with his other team mates. He is not an individual player, but a team player. He works for his teammates and he also creates lots of scoring opportunities.”
“If you look at his body, you may be inclined to think that he will be intimidated by the opponents’ big bodies. He is one boy that doesn’t even look at the size of his opponents. He can take on any defender,” Ndlovu said after one of the games Makumbe starred in.
After a blistering start to the season Makumbe suffered an ankle injury during Bosso’s game against Shabanie Mine in April, which kept him on the sidelines for over a month.
Coincidentally, his absence coincided with an indifferent spell for the Bulawayo giants, who lost their first game of the season to Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab, before going on to win only two matches in their next six matches.
Last week Makumbe made an instant impact on his return from injury after scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Harare City last Saturday at Rufaro Stadium.
Ndlovu was excited by the midfielder’s recovery and return and could not hide that before the Harare City match.
“We are boosted by the return of Nigel. He has been doing very well at training. He has not showed any signs of pain anymore and therefore in that department we are boosted by his comeback which will probably give us a dimension and direction in our play. He is our playmaker, he makes us play, he is an intelligent player, he will carry the team on his shoulders on the day and that it was our trump card,” Ndlovu said.
While Bosso are currently celebrating the return of their midfield maestro it remains to be seen if he will complete the season in Bulawayo or will be recalled back to FC Platinum, where he struggled to break into Norman Mapeza’s side last season.