Aston Villa midfield enforcer Marvelous Nakamba’s spirit of benevolence has seen him successfully dribble into the heart of his proud father Antony Nakamba.
The gratified and soft-spoken football star’s father made the revelation at the launch of the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Foundation (MNF) Under-17 soccer tournament which was due to take place in Bulawayo on Saturday and Sunday.
MNF was launched last year as part of his way of giving back to the local community by creating a platform for youth development and life skills.
Due to a recent spike in Covid-19 cases, the invitational contest which was set to feature Highlanders, Dynamos, Ajax Hotspurs, Majesa Manicaland, Chicken Inn, Hwange Dynamo and Bulawayo City, has been postponed.
“I must say Marvelous has made me proud. It is his idea of continuously giving back to the community that strikes so much. It is my hope that he will maintain that good spirit and empower other people in the community. He should just maintain his cool,” said the soft-spoken Antony, a former Wankie FC goalkeeper.
This year, MNF paid school fees for 1 000 pupils in the country.
Born on 19 January 1994 at Hwange’s Madumavisa Number Two area, Marvelous’ soft spot for the world’s most beautiful game was cultivated at the tender age of six as he reportedly closely followed his father’s 1990s exploits at Wankie FC, an outfit that then also had the likes of Luke Masomere and Fabian Zulu.
“Marvelous used to come for our home matches in Hwange and I was really surprised that at the age of six he could brilliantly analyse a football match,” said Antony.
Marvelous, now 27, made the trip to Bulawayo together with family members when he was eight. In the City of Kings and Queens the Warriors midfielder enrolled at Helemu Primary School and later Njube High.
His real football journey began at Njube Sundowns, Highlanders and Bantu Rovers junior teams. He played alongside his best friend Kudakwashe Mahachi, Teenage Hadebe and Nqobizitha Masuku at Methembe Ndlovu’s Grassroots Academy which was a sister club to Bantu Rovers.
Marvelous is now one of the best paid footballers on the continent and he has followed in the footsteps of the legendary trio of Peter Ndlovu, Bruce Grobbelaar and Benjani Mwaruwari — the elite class of Zimbabweans who have featured in the English Premiership.
In February last year, MNF announced it had paid school fees for 1 500 children in 21 schools from five provinces through its education assistance programme (EAP).
The Villa star has been using his personal investments to fund the foundation, while working on roping in donors and establishing corporate partnerships to drive the project.
There are also plans to set up a soccer academy in Bulawayo with the City Council availing five hectares of land for the project.
It is envisaged that youngsters may follow in the footsteps of Nakamba, who at the age of 15 had his first professional football contract with local side Bantu Rovers FC.
The Warriors star has one sibling named Antony Junior who is doing Form Three at a local private school.
His fiancée is called Chipo and the two formalised their relationship in early 2019.