The Sunday Mail
AS Marvelous Nakamba flew off to England last Wednesday to resume duty with Aston Villa who host Newcastle United in a Barclays Premiership tie tomorrow night, the contribution made by his mother towards his football career did not escape his mind.
The Villa star spoke a lot about his mother when he featured on the Premier League World’s Player Focus show that was aired on SuperSport on Thursday last week.
Nakamba’s mother, Charity Ngwenya, is a down-to-earth woman who engaged in all sorts of menial jobs in and out of Zimbabwe to bring food to her family’s table.
She has remained a pillar in the star’s rise to the top.
“I am proud of my parents, I have huge respect for my mother for the way she toiled to bring me up as a child.
“I am sure my dad Antony and my mom are very proud of me. My father was there in Zambia when we beat Chipolopolo on Tuesday night,” Nakamba told The Sunday Mail Sport a few minutes before his flight took off from OR Tambo Airport in South Africa.
As Nakamba braces for his ninth straight league start for Villa, the 25-year-old defensive linkman, who played a pivotal role as Zimbabwe salvaged four points from their opening two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia, knows someone special will be there at Villa Park, albeit in spirit.
His mother, a devout Roman Catholic member, prays for her son each time he takes to the field.
She was on hand to watch him play for the Warriors when they featured in a 0-0 draw against Botswana at the National Sports Stadium, after which she gave The Sunday Mail Sport an interesting insight into the star footballer’s childhood.
Charity also revealed how she constantly gives motherly advice to Nakamba.
She also revealed why she has endorsed the midfielder’s fiancée, Chipo.
“It’s just natural, as a mother I have to say one or two words to Marve (Nakamba) but overall, he has been a well-disciplined boy.
“Our family (church) being Roman Catholic, he rarely missed the Sunday Mass as a child. At school, he had a few friends, but only the good ones.”
However, like any other child, Marvelous was naughty on some occasions. His mother vividly recalls one such incident when the footballer was still in Grade Seven at Helemu Primary School in Bulawayo.
“On that day, we had a visitor who came cycling at our home in Mpopoma. Marvelous stole that bicycle and cycled away, only to return injured all over his body, he had fallen from the bike!
“I slapped him hard, but I guess that’s the only time I hit him.”
Charity, who has suddenly assumed celebrity status in Bulawayo’s Sunninghill suburb, where Marvelous bought a house for the family, says she only started taking his son’s career seriously when he moved from France to Netherlands in 2014.
“When he was at primary level, I watched him playing a few times because I ended up going to South Africa to look for a job to help bring food on the table. During that time, it was really hard for the family.
“I was not a football fan to be honest, so I did not follow him keenly when he was still at Bantu Rovers here in Zimbabwe, or even when he moved to France. Besides, I couldn’t watch him here because most of the time I was on the road hustling for the family.
“I started developing more interest when he moved to the Netherlands. At one time, we flew there to watch him in action, what a wonderful night that was,” she said.
Nakamba, a product of Methembe Ndlovu’s famed Bantu Rovers Academy, moved to AS Nancy of France in 2012 before joining Dutch top-flight side Vitesse in 2014.
After two seasons in the Eredivisie, where in May 2017, he won the prestigious KNVB-Beker Cup which is run along similar lines as the English FA Cup, Nakamba was snapped up by Belgium giants Club Brugge.
Under Brugge, he impressed during the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League and Aston Villa came knocking for his services.
“Each time I think of Marvelous’ rise to the top, I pray and thank God. In fact, as a family, we pray just before each game he plays, whether it is with the Warriors or at Aston Villa,” Charity revealed.
“If I look back at how tough life was back then, I can only see the hand of God in all of this. For two years during primary school education, we had to take Marvelous to the rural areas where he stayed with his grandmother.
“He was at Dinde Primary in Hwange where he stayed with his grandmother as I was looking for jobs in local shops. I even crossed the border into South Africa to do menial jobs so that he could get his fees.Life was not good, my husband was not working then, he was hustling here and there.”
All those sorrows and poverty tears have been wiped out as her son is now one of the top earners in the country.
With a weekly wage of about US$71 000, Nakamba is arguably one of the highest paid footballers in Southern Africa.
He is also the only player from the Southern African region plying his trade in the English Premiership.
Nakamba can now afford to book his family in five-star hotels while his father is now pursuing business interests in Zambia.
“We always tell him this is his future, we will die and he will take care of his siblings. We always encourage him to make meaningful investments,” said Charity, who also spoke about his son’s love life.
“I talk to him about relationships. I have told him that once you choose a wife, that’s your wife, no more going back. And I am happy his wife (fiancee) Chipo is a good girl.
“She also comes from Bulawayo. They went to the same High School at Njube. I knew they were onto something as she would regularly visit us when we were staying in Mpopoma and I liked her. I have endorsed her,” said Charity with a chuckle.Charity will once again be on her knees, praying for her son when he goes onto the field to play against Newcastle United as Villa, just like all other teams from across the globe, return to their league duties after the Fifa international break.