Vitesse Arnhem’s Marvelous Nakamba’s star is shining bright in the Netherlands Eredivisie football league where he has already been tipped for a move to top European leagues.BY HENRY MHARA
His coach Peter Bosz expects to lose the midfielder to the English Premier League (EPL) and the club’s close relationship with Chelsea means a move to the London club could be a possibility.
Vitesse have a strong connection with the EPL champions, with a constant stream of players treading the path between Vitesse Arnhem and Stamford Bridge.
“He (Nakamba) has had to get used to our style of play. I think that he’d fit very well in England with his honest, aggressive way of playing,” Bosz said.
The 21-year-old joined Vitesse from French second-tier side AS Nancy at the start of the 2014/15 season, but took time to find his feet, making only eight appearances, all off the bench, with a paltry total of 97 minutes.
But all that has changed this season for the Bulawayo-born former Bantu Rovers central midfielder as he has played 773 minutes of football, from nine starts in his club’s 10 matches this term.
So marvellous has been Nakamba this season that he has been named man of the match for his side twice, including in the 5-0 demolition of FC Groningen where he was given a nine out of 10 rating.
On Sunday, he was in the starting 11 as his side played Ajax Amsterdam in a league match, losing the game 3-1.
Part of the plan for Ajax to win the match was to neutralise Nakamba, whom they had picked as their opposition dangerman.
“We knew that Vitesse had a team with great individual quality, like Marvelous,” said Ajax player Riechedly Bazoer, who was given the job to track down and mark out Nakamba.
“I had analysed him with the trainer. He can run fast and play fast. I personally find him a very good football player,” Bazoer added.
Vitesse, in an in-house story on their official website, described Nakamba as an industrious midfielder, well suited for the vigorous demands of the English Premiership game.
“Nakamba is a typical box-to-box midfielder possessing a mean tackle. A tireless worker, he carries himself and plays in a swashbuckling manner, proving to be a menace to any opposition midfield. While he does not create, he is a huge part of the link between attack and defence, along with Valeri Qazaishvili. With an average of a staggering five tackles per game, there is no doubt that the 21-year-old is key to winning battles in the middle of the park,” the website wrote.
“It’s noteworthy that his style of play would be well-suited to the Premier League. He’s also never afraid to shoot from distance, coming close on multiple occasions but not quite finding the back of the net yet. Akin to most youngsters, though, Nakamba can grow in and out of games and is dispossessed easily at times.”
Nakamba could use Vitesse as a springboard for a big move to Chelsea as the two clubs enjoy a close connection, with the 2012 European champions sending a number of players out to the Netherlands on loan to gain first-team experience.
Nemanja Matic, Bertrand Traoré, Gaël Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt, Christian Atsu, Lucas Piazón, Marco van Ginkel and Tomas Kalas are among a string of players to have swapped the two sides in recent years.
Currently, Chelsea have five players — Dominic Solanke, Izzy Brown, Lewis Baker, Nathan de Souza and Danilo Pantic, on loan at Vitesse — who are playing alongside Nakamba.
Nakamba’s good form could be good news for Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa as he seeks 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification.