NETHERLANDS-BASED Zimbabwean midfielder Marvellous Nakamba opened his heart in an interview with our sister paper NewsDay Sport yesterday and spoke about the highs and lows of life as a professional footballer.
The 20-year-old — who plays for Dutch top-flight side Vitesse, having started off at Bantu Rovers in 2010 as a raw 16-year-old before moving to France where he joined Nancy — has received a call-up to the national team as the Zimbabwe Under-23 team prepares for a friendly match against Morocco in Marrakech next week.
Nakamba, who played for Zimbabwe Under-20 in 2012, expressed his delight to be called up to the national team ahead of the 2015 African Championships qualifiers, which will serve as Olympic qualifiers, as well as the All-Africa Games qualifiers.
Speaking from his base in Netherlands, Nakamba said: “I am happy to be called up to the national team. I have represented the country before, but now I am a fully fledged professional and hope to do my best for my country.
“I have to show that my game has improved since I left Zimbabwe when I was still 16 years old when I was at Bantu. I was under pressure then, but now I have graduated into a professional footballer,” said Nakamba.
He said he has confidence Zimbabwe would qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“I believe so because there is quality in the team. I think we can qualify for Brazil,” said Nakamba.
He also spoke about the challenges he is facing at the Dutch club where he has made just one appearance coming on as a second-half substitute since joining in July this season on a four-year deal.
“There is stiff competition in the team and I have played just one match,” he said. “It’s not easy to break into the starting team here. You know its difficult joining a club in a new country.
“Things like language and all that affects you and you take time to adjust. I have been here for three months, but I haven’t settled yet. I am still adjusting to life here. I am working hard at training. I have played just one game as a substitute, but I know I will eventually break through,” said Nakamba.
He revealed that it was difficult to draw a line between his former French club Nancy and Vitesse in terms of their training methods.
“Their training methods are almost the same. It’s difficult to draw a line you know in Europe, the approach is basically the same. Maybe the difference I have noticed is that in France the game is robust and highly physical, but here the emphasis is on technique.”