By Robson Sharuko
The Warriors might have failed their nation, with their disastrous 2019 AFCON finals show, but their players continue to be picked by clubs from some of the world’s leading leagues.
Midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is now set to be unveiled by English Premiership side Aston Villa.
Reports from Birmingham say Nakamba flew into England’s second biggest city yesterday for a medical and is now on the verge of completing his dream move after Villa agreed to match the asking transfer fee that was being demanded by Belgian side Club Brugge.
Villa will splash €12 million (about US$13.45 million) for Nakamba’s services and the Zimbabwe international, should he pass his medical, will then fly to the United States to join his new teammates on their pre-season tour.
“Nakamba is here in Birmingham for his medical and an announcement is due either late today or tomorrow regarding his signing for Villa,” sources said.
Villa have spent more than £100 million in transfers which has seen about eight players arriving at the club and manager Dean Smith indicated yesterday that “there’s still more business to be done.”
Nakamba also fueled the hype he was now set to join Villa by following the club on its Instagram account and also following some of the players at the Birmingham club.
While Nakamba’s dreams of success at the 2019 AFCON finals were dashed, in the group stages, daredevil super fan Alvin “Aluvha” Zhakata is finally getting recognition for his Cape to Cairo road trip and has been getting VVIP treatment.
CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad has assured Aluvha he is going to get a VVIP ticket for Friday’s final between Senegal and Algeria while the Madagascar football official will also organise his flight back home.
“I’m getting royal treatment here,” said Aluvha who has this week been interviewed by the BBC and a number of global news outlets.
Aluvha had toyed with the idea of an adventure, by sea and land, to England to cheer the Gems but now appears to have set his sights on ending his expedition in Cairo.
He isn’t alone among the Zimbabwean super fans who have emerged in different sporting disciplines, including those who waved the country’s flag during sport’s ultimate Super Sunday – the greatest Cricket World Cup final, which spilled into a super over and the longest Wimbledon men’s final ever, a five-set thriller that wandered into a nerve-shattering monster tiebreaker.
And, of course, there were those who also cheered the Gems at a Netball World Cup cliffhanger that ebbed and floored in Liverpool on Sunday as the city, which is the home of the European football champions, refused to let London dominate Super Sunday’s crazy sporting spectacle.
The sights of Zimbabwean flags being proudly displayed at Lord’s during that final on Sunday was priceless, especially given the Chevrons failed to qualify for this World Cup, and the country faces the threat of a suspension from the ICC this week amid the boardroom drama that has been consuming the sport.
Some will probably argue it was because of the presence of Collin de Grandhomme in the New Zealand team in that final against England.
After all, the all-rounder was born in Harare and even played for the Zimbabwe team at the 2004 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh which beat Australia by seven wickets and New Zealand by 92 runs on an adventure that took them into the Super League of that tournament.
Others could also suggest that another Zimbabwean, Andy Pycroft, was one of the six ICC referees for the 2019 World Cup.
But, a closer analysis of those fans waving the Zimbabwe flag at Lord’s on Sunday shows they were just there to enjoy the game and also add their country’s flag to the festival of joy at that dramatic showcase.
Add, to that the beautiful chaos in Liverpool where the Gems, who have become the darlings of Zimbabwean sports fans, edged Northern Ireland 52-49 in a thriller, and you can understand why the world is being charmed by what it is seeing from those songs and dances.
“I’ve never seen such supporters in my life,” said Zimbabwe captain Perpetua Siyachiteama after her team’s win over Northern Ireland.
And, the world has not only been watching but has also fallen in love with all this.
“African nations have a habit of either shocking or winning hearts at Netball World Cups,” journalist Suzanne McFadden wrote on New Zealand website www.newsroom.co.nz.
“And, so far in 2019, it’s the Zim Gems, Zimbabwe’s national netball side, who’ve become the darlings of this World Cup in Liverpool.
“With their loud and melodious band of supporters, and their athletic, inventive and brave netball, Zimbabwe have already taken a few teams by surprise in their first-ever World Cup.
“They finally qualified for the pinnacle of netball contests – putting them one step ahead of the country’s more beloved Warriors football team, who have never reached World Cup status.
“Zimbabwe will clearly win the prize for loudest and most colourful supporters at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool. Zimbabwe have enjoyed almost a home game advantage, thanks to their supporters.
“Their large band of fans play drums, wave flags and sing and dance. They shriek with joy whenever the Gems score or steal the ball.”
Source : The Herald