Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
ASTON Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba was at his bewitching best in an otherwise lifeless night by the Warriors against Botswana at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Zimbabwe started their 2021 AFCON football qualifier with a disappointing goalless draw at home against a team considered the underdogs of Group H.
Zimbabwe’s biggest star Nakamba illuminated the giant stadium on the night with his smooth operation in the middle of the park.
He attributed the rise of his game to the competition he has to contend with week-in-week-out in the tough English Premier League, but was not entirely pleased with the result though he refused to press panic buttons as yet.
“I have learnt a lot at Villa, the competition in that league is very stiff so as a player you have to be continuously improving to match the competition.
“Today I was doing some of the things we are taught at the club but it is not about me but the team as a whole.
“Coach (Joey) Antipas gave me important tips for this game and as players our job is to implement that.
“We have a game on Tuesday (against Zambia), we just need to push each other and hope for a good result away from home.
“We wanted a win today but I do not think a draw is a disaster though,” Nakamba said after the match.
The Villa defensive linkman was at his inspirational best for his country but his international teammates could not complement his good efforts at the heart of midfield.
Deployed in front of the back four to initiate the team’s attack and protect the back four, he did that with distinction.
Nakamba picked up loose balls but those he played with failed to give him return balls.
He had quickly settled into the match giving his international teammates the much-needed midfield pivot to build on their attacks.
As early as the fourth minute he threaded a pass to his captain Knowledge Musona but the latter is struggling with his game and could not lead a meaningful attack.
The crowd was on its toes enjoying the quick passing of the England-based star who was always accurate and excellent on his ball retention.
But as the game grew he started showing his teammates what to do with and without the ball, making playing football look very easy.
He is willing to pass words of wisdom to his teammates.
“We are always pushing each other so that we can improve on our game and help our country achieve great things.
“We were not bad and I do not think there is need to panic we just need to regroup and focus on Tuesday’s game.
“It is unfortunate we did not win at home and the supporters are understandably not happy but it is still very early to complain about anything we have time to recover.
“We still remain very confident,” said Nakamba.