Home SPORTS Euro scouts for Nakamba tourney

Euro scouts for Nakamba tourney

Aston Villa fans want Nakamba in starting XI

Euro scouts for Nakamba tourney

EUROPEAN scouts are expected to grace the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Under-17 football tournament.

It will be staged from June 18 to 19 in Bulawayo in White City and Luveve.

The Marvelous Nakamba Foundation will launch the tournament, which received special clearance from the relevant authorities, on Friday, in the City of Kings.

Speaking to The Herald yesterday, the Aston Villa midfielder, who is back home for a short break, said he had wanted to have a bigger tournament.

However, due to the complications brought about by Covid-19, this will not be possible.

“Before the actual tournament commences, there will be a life-skills workshop, which will be facilitated by an exciting line-up of speakers,’’ Nakamba said.

“There will be scouts from Europe, and a few talented youngsters will be presented with an opportunity to go to training camps in Europe.

“Our foundation leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilise at-risk youth to overcome their greatest challenges that we are facing now, which is drug indulgence, and also crime, and be agents for change in their communities.’’

He is keen on vibrant junior programmes as he is a direct beneficiary of the same programmes.

“Grassroots football is a very important part of the survival of football,” said Nakamba.

“We have all come through the system of being afforded chances, at an early stage, and it is befitting that we continue the tradition of supporting grassroots sports.

“We appreciate the approval, from the custodians of football, and it is our hope that this tournament will raise the curtain to the commencement of junior football in the country.

“This will be a stepping stone to a Covid-19 complying football era.”

Teams that will take part in this year’s first edition are the Highlanders, Dynamos, Njube Spurs, Hwange Dynamo, Albun Academy, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hot Spurs and Chicken Inn.

Hwange Dynamo got a special invitation as they are from Nakamba’s hometown in the Colliery.

Ajax’s hot Spurs are from the ghetto where he grew up.

“There will be team and individual prizes, of course, to motivate the players as well as to reward excellence,” said Nakamba.

“It’s going to be a big day and, hopefully, the participants will find it beneficial.”

Unfortunately, no fans will be allowed in the stadiums, and spectators will have to follow the action from the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation’s social media pages.

About 400 players are set to play in the inaugural tournament.

Further details regarding the tournament will be announced during the launch on Friday.

In a statement released yesterday, the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation said they were happy to get clearance to host the junior tournament.

“We are excited to announce that we have finally received clearance to host the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Foundation Under-17 football tournament.

“It gives us great pleasure to know that we have the support of the football custodians as we endeavour to empower grassroots football through this tournament that will see over 400 budding footballers get an opportunity to showcase the talent that we have in abundance.

“We have set the official launch of the tournament for 11 June 2021 at a local venue where we will unveil the teams that are participating as well as the rules of the tournament,” read the statement.

Nakamba has become a symbol of inspiration, for millions of kids in the country, who dream of one day playing in the English Premiership.

His remarkable journey, from Hwange to the most competitive, and lucrative, league in the world football, has captured the imagination of many young players who are also pursuing their dreams.

Before South African star Percy Tau briefly played for Brighton and Hove, last season, Nakamba was the only footballer from South Africa plying his trade in the English Premiership.

This means his influence, in terms of being a role model, is not only limited to Zimbabwe but extends to many millions of young footballers, across the region.

He ended the season strongly, after winning the trust of his manager Dean Smith, to be thrown into the deep end of the starting XI, again.

He didn’t let his gaffer down with standout performances against Tottenham Hotspur and European champions Chelsea.

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