NAKAMBA A.K.A MILLION DOLLAR MAN | Zimbabwe international midfielder Marvelous Nakamba’s new Belgian side Club Brugge have revealed they beat fierce interest from Turkish giants Fenerbahce for a tough race to land the signature of the highly-rated Warrior.
The 23-year-old box-to-box midfielder ended months of speculation by signing for Belgium’s most supported football club on a long-term deal after having impressed in the colours of Dutch side Virtesse Arnhem.
The former Bantu Rovers starlet, who is making a name for himself in European football, is now in his third country on that continent having first landed in France before moving to Holland.
Club Brugge, the 14-time Belgian champions, also revealed they beat rivals Anderlecht who had shown interest in securing the signature of the rising Zimbabwean midfielder.
Anderlecht, who have been crowned champions 34 times, are the most successful Belgian club in European competitions having won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup twice in 1976 and 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1983.
They also won the UEFA Super Cup twice in 1976 and 1978 and have a bigger profile than Club Brugge in the game around the world having also been the home for such prominent players like Everton’s Romelo Lukaku, Senegalese skipper Cheikh Kouyate, who plays for West Ham and Zambian football legend Charles Musonda.
But it is the revelation that there was official interest in Nakamba’s services from Fenerbahce before the Zimbabwean midfielder settled for Club Brugge that could surprise many here at home.
The Turkish giants, who have won their domestic championship 19 times, are one of Europe’s big boys and have in the past been the home to such illustrious players like Nigerian midfield wizard Jay Jay Okocha, Brazil’s Alex, French speed merchant Nicolas Anelka, Brazilian wingback Robert Carlos, Argentine midfield star Ariel Ortega and Dutchman Pierre van Hooijdonk.
“Concrete interest (from) Fenerbahçe and, to a lesser extent, Anderlecht, but Marvelous Nakamba chooses an adventure at Club Brugge,’’ the Belgian club said. “Blue-Black sought and found a successor for Timmy Simons at our northern neighbours. ‘’He is only 23 years but has already had two strong seasons as a controller in the centre of Vitesse.’’
Club Brugge believe he could make as huge an impression as club legend Simmons. “BlueZwartFans searched all why he was named Marvelous,’’ the club said.
“Nakamba exploded in the past three seasons. “With Vitesse he finished fifth and won the KNVB Cup. After 77 games for the Arnhem club, he is now waiting for the difficult task to follow club icon Timmy Simons.
“With Nakamba, Club (Brugge) has the best first-class ball-packer in the Dutch first class. ‘’With 291 recoveries, he was better than players like Eric Botteghin (286), Kamohelo Mokotjo (284) and Karim El Ahmadi (234). ‘’In addition, Nakamba is a real force power. Our newcomer has won more duels and tackles since the start of the 2015-2016 football season than any other midfielder in the Eredivisie.’’
Dutch blogger Sjors van Veen, the Editor of Ajax Showtime, also praised Nakamba and wondered why the top three clubs in the Netherlands, the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord didn’t choose to sign the Zimbabwean midfielder. “Nakamba is a really good transfer by Club Brugge. Like him a lot. Think Dutch top 3 are missing out on this one,’’ he tweeted.
It was also revealed that Nakamba cost his new club three million euros (about US$3.34 million) to secure from his old Dutch club. Statistics also show why Nakamba’s stock has been rising in European football and explains why there has been such a stampede for his signature.
Nakamba was number one in tackles won (174) in the Dutch top-flight league during the 2015-2016 season. He was also number one in tackles won (442) in the Dutch top-flight league during the same campaign.
Crucially, he was second in recoveries (561), third in interceptions (126) and third in fouls (114). Nakamba has established himself as a regular member of the Warriors after helping the national team end 10 years of waiting for a place at the Nations Cup finals and featured in the 3-0 demolition of Liberia in the opening qualifier of the 2019 AFCON finals.
He now joins his Warriors captain Knowledge Musona in Belgium and, like the Smiling Assassin, will feature in the UEFA inter-club competitions next season.
Nakamba’s decision to join Club Brugge has, however, been questioned by some pundits back home who believe he stood a good chance of making a quick move into the English Premiership if he had stayed at Virtesse who have a relationship with Chelsea.