Nakamba sets sights on UEFA Champions league . . . Refutes Bundesliga/Serie A transfer gossip

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Marvelous Nakamba

Chipo Sabeta
After lifting his first title in Europe, Club Brugge midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, is itching to make his debut UEFA Champions League appearance.

Club Brugge won their second Belgian Jupiler Pro League title in three years after a 1-1 draw at their closest challengers Standard Liege last Sunday.

It was Brugge’s 15th title.

With the title, Brugge automatically qualifies for the group stage of next year’s UEFA Champions League and he joins Zimbabwe’s list of elite footballers to play in Europe’s elite club competitions namely, Kennedy Chihuri, Bruce Globbellaar, Norman Mapeza, Musa Mguni and Costa Nhamoinesu.

The Warriors midfielder said the UEFA champion’s league will help him with international exposure at one of the world’s biggest football stages.

“It’s my first title and I am eager to play in the Champions League. I can’t wait to feature in the UEFA Champions league. It’s a big platform that will also boost my career and market my name to bigger clubs. It is a challenging stage but I am ready for it,” he told Business Weekly.

Nakamba, 24, who played every game in the Belgium top flight in the just-ended season added: “I have worked hard to be where I am and winning my first title was not easy. It’s also difficult when you are coming from Africa and it takes a lot of courage to be part of the team in every match. I largely attribute all my success to hard work and discipline. I’m have been enjoying my game this season. Winning the title in my debut season in Belgium makes everything perfect. I am looking forward for more silverware. I believe that with God, everything is possible.”

Nakamba moved to Europe in 2012 to join French side FC Nancy from local side Bantu Rovers before moving to Vitesse Arnhem in Netherlands which he played for in 2014. He then signed a four-year deal with Club Brugge in June 2017.

He becomes the Zimbabwean to win a league title in Europe in the top-flight league ex-Warriors goalkeeper Grobbelaar and Nhamoinesu of Sparta Prague in Czech Republic.

Last year, Nakamba lifted the Dutch Cup with his club Vitesse as the club lifted its first major trophy since it was formed 125 years ago.

His move from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem Club Brugge made him the second most expensive Zimbabwean footballer (just over $3 million) after Benjani Mwaruwari’s price tag for his move from English side Portsmouth to Manchester City.

Four months after joining Belgian top-flight football side Club Brugge, Nakamba started picking up accolades after he was named the club’s September Player of the Month.

“I do not regret moving to Belgium. I’m enjoy the adventure. I like the experience of playing in different leagues. It eye opening and I am targeting more exposure,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nakamba’s quality has not been ignored as he has attracted interest from European clubs. Italian football giants Fiorentina and German Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 are said to be in the race for his signature.

English sides Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle have been linked with the former Njube High School student.

German media outlet Fussball transfer last month reported that Nakamba’s performances had caught the attention of Schalke ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

Schalke are looking forward to strengthen ahead of next season’s Uefa Champions League.

Nakamba said: “For now, I want to enjoy this title. I am still celebrating. I know there have been a lot of talk concerning such interest that I can’t make any official comment. While such attention can be flattering, I choose to focus with Club Brudge. My plans are in Belgium at the moment. I will be home to enjoy my holiday knowing that I am retuning to Belgium after this season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nakamba, who was skipper at the four-nation invitational tournament in Zambia last month, has been drafted into Warriors squad to participate at the upcoming COSAFA tournament to be held in Polokwane.

Warriors coach, Sunday Chidzambwa insists on blending the squad ahead of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers which resume in September.

Other European-based players called for camp include Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague), Adam Chicksen (Bradford city), Andy Rinomhota (Reading) and Macauley Borne (Leyton Orient), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF) Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City), Kundai Benyu (Oldham Athletic).

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