With Aston Villa fans already knowing that we would have a couple of players off on their travels when January hit and the African Cup of Nations begins, there has been some good news for us and Marvelous Nakamba this week.
With 27-year-old Nakamba putting in some fantastic performances of late, head coach Steven Gerrard is definitely relying on his strengths to break up play in midfield and with the way he’s stepped up, he was going to be a massive miss for us come the New Year. With a serious vote of confidence from Gerrard, Aston Villa had asked the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) if they would delay his inevitable call up – and they’ve done just that, which is nice of them.
It’s believed that ZIFA were originally going to ask him to turn up in time for their pre-tournament training camp (Dec 23) which would’ve seen him drop out of contention following the Burnley clash, but following our request, ZIFA General Manager, Wellington Mpandare confirmed that they had now agreed to let him turn up on January 3 which obviously means Nakamba will remain with us for the Chelsea, Leeds United and Brentford matches.
“Villa have written to us asking for special favours regarding the release of Nakamba. They requested that Nakamba remains with their team for their EPL games and then they will release him on January 3. We looked into the matter and weighed the pros and cons. The fact that he will be playing competitive football at that level means a lot. It’s because he is doing well at the moment and we want him to bring his best form to the national team. So we agreed to their request and Marve will be joining the camp a bit later.”
Given the issues we’ve had with interruption breaks and Covid nonsense so far, it’s good to see a more sensible compromise has been quickly made here that should suit everyone, even if it’s still not exactly ideal from our point of view.