Nakamba on underdog tag
3 January 2016
WARRIORS’ midfield maestro Marvelous Nakamba says the underdog tag can work in Zimbabwe’s favour.
The Zimbabwe senior men face former AFCON champions Tunisia, Algeria and Senegal in Group B but the Everton bound midfielder says it will help them play without pressure.
The Vitesse Arnhem midfielder will miss the opener against Algeria on January 15 as he is suspended by the Confederation of African Football after picking up his second yellow card of the qualifiers away to Guinea in September.
He opened up to H-Metro: “Teams that are regarded weakest in a group can always surprise and we are happy that everyone thinks we are pushovers.
“It’s helpful. It leaves us with no pressure to impress anyone. It gives our team a chance to express themselves in the field of play. There is a tendency of giving high profile teams big mileage but I am happy that we are not getting it. I take it as a blessing in disguise.”
Nakamba who has so far made 16 league appearances in Eredivisie and one cup appearance since the campaign started thinks Zimbabwe has talented footballers despite not playing in popular league.
Knowledge Musona has consistently performed well in the Belgian leagues, a feeder league for big European markets whilst Khama Billiat was crowned South African Footballer of the Season 2015/16 and won the CAF Champions League.
Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic’s Costa Nhamoinesu is one of the top performers in the Europa League of the 2015/2016 season and was listed among top performers at the club.
“We’re looking forward to measuring ourselves against a great squad. We need the whole team to do a great job in all departments if we want to do well. But we are training at our very best ahead of this match.
“We know that a lot has been written about the expensive players in the Algerian and Senegalese teams, the strength and history of Tunisia and how Zimbabwe’s position of players pales into insignificance.
“We can’t dispute that Algeria has the reigning Footballer of the Year in England, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani whilst Senegal too has many stars in the Barclays English Premiership. They surely can carry the day for their teams but that leaves us with no pressure at all,” he added.
Nakamba feels club performance differs with national team shows.
“It’s a different scenario that’s why we have stars who are impressing at club level when they are failures at the national team.
“Having too many stars doesn’t mean the team will be strong. Remember football is a team sport. We thrive on unity and purpose. With big names, they tend to play for the crowds and we pray for unity. We have to stay calm and focused if we want to do well.”