Nakamba eyes Belgian giants
Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS’ midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is set to join Belgian giants Club Brugge on a four-year deal today after completing his medicals.
The 23-year-old midfielder, who joined Netherlands topflight side Vitesse in 2014 from French outfit AS Nancy, had to cut short his holiday and leave Bulawayo for Belgium on Sunday to conclude his move.
In an interview from Belgium yesterday, Nakamba, whose contract with Vitesse is set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season, was hopeful of passing the medicals at Club Brugge.
“I left yesterday (Sunday) and I am having medicals today and tomorrow. Hopefully if all goes well by tomorrow (today) afternoon, it will be official that I’ve joined FC Club Brugge,” said Nakamba.
The former Bantu Rovers’ star had a stellar 2016/17 season for Vitesse, with his performance at the Dutch topflight side winning him admiration from the club’s fans, who voted him their second best player of the season. He lost to striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel for the top prize.
Nakamba established himself as a vital cog at the Dutch outfit and won his first silverware in Europe when Vitesse collected a major trophy for the first time in their 125-year history by beating AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Cup final.
Because of his consistent performances at Vitesse, Nakamba became a subject of intense speculation early this year, with reports from the Netherlands linking him with a move to English Premier League side Everton, as well as Turkish giants Galatasaray and Belgium’s Anderlecht.
The former Njube High School pupil was also linked to German sides Hamburger SV and Wolfsburg.
However, the opportunity to play Uefa Champions League football could have influenced Nakamba, whose stock is rising with every season, to settle for Club Brugge, who finished second in the Belgian League last season.
Winning the Dutch Cup with Vitesse had presented the left-footed midfielder with a chance to play in the Europa League for the second time in his career.
His first appearance was in 2015 when Vitesse played in the Europa League play-offs and were knocked out by English side Southampton after going down 0-2 at home and 0-3 away to the Saints.
“Now that I’m likely to move away from Vitesse, I will miss the Europa League, but if all goes well, I could be playing in a bigger competition, the Uefa Champions League. I might sign a three or four-year contract tomorrow,” said Nakamba.
Nakamba joins Zimbabwe’s list of elite footballers to play in Europe’s club competitions, who include legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, Kennedy Chihuri, Norman Mapeza, Musa Mguni and Costa Nhamoinesu.
Should his Belgian move materialise, Nakamba will link up with Warriors’ captain Knowledge Musona as well as former national team midfielders Vusa Nyoni and Honour Gombami.