Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
MARVELOUS Nakamba enters bloody tackles on a weekly basis in the English Premier League football, fighting for his Aston Villa teammates.
Some of those tackles leave him bruised as well and last season the Warriors midfielder missed a huge chunk of the term due to a nasty sprain.
He also watched in agony, on his television screen in Birmingham, England, as his Warriors teammates played in the African Cup of Nations held in Cameroon in January.
Probably he could have made that crucial tackle or that key pass that could have helped Zimbabwe progress to the Round-of-16.
And Nakamba’s work ethic is not only confined to the field of play.
He is also a champion both for the aspiring footballers and vulnerable children in the society whom he is helping get an education through his Marvelous Nakamba Foundation.
He has also joined in the fight against child marriages in this country, too.
Nakamba was one of the respected guests as UNICEF Zimbabwe held a press event ahead of the Day of the African Child in Harare yesterday.
The Day of the African Child is celebrated on June 16. Nakamba signed a pledge committing himself to be a role model in the community for girls to realise their dreams and ambitions in life.
In a country where statistics show one in every three women aged between 20-49 years are married before the age of 18, Nakamba has committed himself to play a huge role in fighting that abnormality.
“I thrive to stand for what is right in society. I come from a disadvantaged background in Dhinde, Hwange, down there. I have lived in a ghetto and you know growing up, you see a lot of abnormalities going on.
“I stand for what is right and I am going to use my brand to try and help in the best way possible. Girls have been disadvantaged in society since years back and we have to fight to end that,” said Nakamba.
The 28-year-old is in the country as the English Premier League is on off-season break. He should have been in camp though had the Warriors not been banned by FIFA playing in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.
Yet, as disappointed as he is because of the indefinite ban, Nakamba would rather duck from that issue.
“It is disappointing to miss out on the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, personally having also missed the AFCON finals in Cameroon last January but I think there are authorities who are well-placed to answer that question better.
“But, I think it is disappointing for me and it is also disappointing for you (the media), as well, I believe.
“I think it is disappointing for everyone as well but I am not very well-positioned to be talking about that at the moment.”
The defensive midfielder, who is entering into his fourth season with Aston Villa, is looking forward to a successful 2022/2023 season which begins in August.
“I am looking forward to a very exciting season next term given that I was dogged by injuries the last time out. I am very pleased with the chances that I have been given by the technical staff (at Aston Villa) and I am looking forward to keep on playing well.
“I should keep on working hard to retain the faith that the technical team has invested in me.
“The competition has always been very tough at the club and in the English Premier League. Generally, competition is part of the game, so competition is never a new phenomenon in football.
“We have been 25, 30 players in the dressing room pushing each other and also now, I am looking forward to playing alongside new teammates.
“I will go back and work hard in training to improve every aspect of my game. There is always room for improvement,” Nakamba said.
The Zimbabwean has clicked well with Aston Villa manager, English football icon Steven Gerrard whom he describes as a role model who also inspired him into considering football as a profession.
“Steve Gerrard is a leader, very competitive and also someone who is a role model. Personally, growing up, I used to watch him play and that ignited my passion for the game . . . He is a winner and wants the best out of everyone, an exemplary leader. I will keep on putting in the work, keep grinding and try to always improve.’’
The Bantu Rovers Academy product, who is an easy going person, said he is a people’s person and his ultimate dream is to see others attain theirs too.
“Ndiri munhu wevanhu, ngingumuntu wabantu, everywhere I go, actually I have been everywhere. I grew up in the village then in the ghetto so I am a people’s person, it’s easy to adjust to anyone.
“As the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation, we want to give back to the community, we want to inspire the next generation of youngsters across the country.
“I think if we can get more people for this cause, we can have better chances of nurturing these children to realise their dreams. “We are trying to help those youngsters reach their dreams by exposing them to tournaments where they can compete against each other.
“Football is also a profession and that is what we want to inculcate into these youngsters.”