Hatters midfielder Nakamba looking to realise his World Cup dream with Zimbabwe
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Luton midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is eager to realise one of his lifelong dreams by finally reaching a World Cup Finals with Zimbabwe.
The 29-year-old has been named in the Warriors squad for their qualifiers taking place against Rwanda this afternoon and then Nigeria on Sunday.
Although a regular at the Africa Cup of Nations over the years, Zimbabwe have never been at the most prestigious international tournament, the closest they came was in 1994, just one win from reaching the finals in USA, and that is something that Nakamba is hoping to change.
With the 2026 event being held in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, he said: “It’s a big thing, one of the things that everyone dreams of doing it, represent your nation at the World Cup.
"We haven’t qualified before so I haven’t played there before, but the dream is still on.
"We always dream big, personally myself, since I was young, I’ve been dreaming big and working for the dream to happen and praying for success.
"Of course God is the one who will do the rest, but having faith and believing it is possible and also now having a chance to compete to qualify for the World Cup is a great opportunity for everyone from Zimbabwe, for everyone who is playing football, for everyone to dream about it.
“I take pride to be able to represent my country, it was a dream when I was growing up to play for my national team and we’re back now playing against Rwanda and Nigeria.
"For me personally, it’s a good feeling and to keep on inspiring those children at home that it is possible for their dreams.
"They look up to us, so to play in the EPL and to play also for the national team, for me also it’s a great thing for me to represent my nation, I take pride in that.”
With a group that also contains South Africa, Benin and Lesotho, asked for his thoughts about the opposition that Zimbabwe will encounter, Nakamba continued: “I think each and every nation are quality, they have hopes the same as us.
"We just have to stick together and focus on ourselves as Zimbabwe.
“The last three AFCON’s, we’ve been qualifying, so now it is a great challenge to see what we can do for the World Cup, but the dream is still on."
It had looked like Zimbabwe wouldn't get the chance to have a crack at the tournament after being suspended in February 2022 for government interference in the sport, as well as sexual harassment of female referees by Zifa technical staff.
That ban was lifted recently though, as it’s something Nakamba, who has won 22 caps for his country, his last coming back in November 2021, wants to put to the back of his mind, saying: “The last game was in the AFCON, but the good thing is the team is back now.
“We are more focusing on the games, so we’re not thinking too much about what is happening, why was this, what is the problem.
"Now we are celebrating the good things, we’re back to be able to compete and being able to play against other nations.”
It’s not just Nakamba from Luton who will be there, but also attacker Admiral Muskwe, currently on loan at Exeter, who has also been named in the Warriors’ squad.
The ex-Aston Villa player added: “It’s a good feeling to have two players from Luton representing Zimbabwe.
"He’s played in the last AFCON, it’s a good feeling having players coming from Europe and representing their country.
"He’s my team-mate here so I’m happy for him also to be included in the team.”