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Marvelous ending for Nakamba

by Staff reporter
07 May 2023 at 07:44hrs | Views
AFTER a gruelling 10-month race, the English Championship is now set for a frenzied ending tomorrow, with Zimbabwean football fans keeping a close eye on proceedings.

While champions Burnley and second-placed Sheffield United have already automatically secured passage to the Premier League, the third team to join them in the top-flight next season will have to be decided via play-offs.

Teams that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the Championship qualify for the play-offs.

Rejuvenated Zimbabwean defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba will have a huge say in the play-offs as his side Luton Town secured third place after drawing 1-1 against Blackburn Rovers last weekend to move five points clear of fourth-placed Middlesborough.

Luton will play the team that finishes sixth over two legs.

The Hatters, as Luton are affectionately known by their fans, have the advantage of playing the first leg away on May 13.

The triumphant side will then face the winner between the fourth- and fifth-placed teams in the final at Wembley on May 27.

As it stands, Nakamba and his teammates are likely to play Millwall, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion or Blackburn Rovers for a place in the final.

The Championship play-offs traditionally draw a huge following across the globe, and Nakamba will be relishing the rare opportunity to remind the world of his qualities., a respected football website, summed up the excitement associated with the Championship play-offs in an article written by Ryan Kelly on May 1.

"Any football fan worth their salt knows that the Championship play-offs are among the most exciting series of games in any season's calendar.

"With hundreds of millions of pounds and the prestige of playing in the Premier League at stake, teams give everything they have to secure the prize," wrote Kelly.

The 29-year-old Nakamba will, undoubtedly, be part of the excitement.

He can afford to smile once again after enduring a forgettable first half of the 2022/2023 Premier League season at Aston Villa.

After failing to find game time, he was loaned to Luton Town on January 31.

He made his debut for the Championship side as a 62nd-minute substitute when the Hatters edged Stoke City 1-0 on February 4.

Since then, Nakamba has found his mojo again, making 17 appearances.

Luton have notably suffered a single defeat — against champions Burnley — since the Warriors international joined them.

To underline his significance to the Luton cause, Nakamba was named the club's best player for March after garnering 36 percent of the votes following an impressive run in which the Hatters did not concede a goal from open play.

Voting for Luton Town's Diamond Player of the Month for April closes on Friday, with the Zimbabwean among the favourites.

His father, Antony, told The Sunday Mail Sport that his son was now happy again after a frustrating period at Aston Villa.

"The good thing is that Marve (Nakamba) is focused and I can tell you the boy is happy again. "I can feel it when I am talking to him over the phone," Antony said.

"They (Luton Town) are now waiting for the confirmation of the sixth-placed team and we are just praying that he (Nakamba) does well and helps the team to the final at Wembley.

"I just hope everything goes well and the team ends up in the Premier League."

Nakamba's father is likely to watch his son at Wembley should Luton make it to the final.

But once the play-offs are done, Nakamba will revert to being a Villa player.

The former Club Brugge man still has one year left on his contract with Villa.

Given his showing during his loan spell, Luton may press for a permanent deal.

Nakamba signed a five-year deal with Villa on August 1, 2019 and the Premiership side might opt to cash in should Luton come knocking on the door for a permanent move.

Excelling in the play-offs could also attract interest from elsewhere in the Premier League or Europe.

Source - The Sunday Mail