ZIMBABWEAN international Marvelous Nakamba is 90 minutes away from making history by guiding English Championship side Luton into the Premier League.
Today’s game against Coventry City at Wembley Stadium is a defining moment for the 29-year-old central midfielder who joined the club during the January transfer window on loan from Aston Villa.
Nakamba who has been receiving rave reviews at Luton will be hoping to inspire the club into the Premiership for the first time since 1992.
In setting up a playoff final against Coventry, Luton overturned a 2-1 first leg away deficit to Sunderland, winning the return home leg 2-0 at Kenilworth Road.
The Hatters, as Luton are popularly known, went into the second leg of the semi-final encounter against Sunderland needing to win by a two-goal margin, something they did with a good, disciplined performance to knock the former Premiership side out.
Goals by Gabriel Osho and Tom Lockyer were enough to send the Hatters to Wembley.
Coventry on the other hand sailed through to the final of the match regarded as one of the richest fixtures as it draws over 100 million Sterling Pounds from television rights and sailed through to the final courtesy of a 1-0 aggregate scoreline against Middlesbrough.
Tonight, Zimbabweans who have fallen in love with Luton who rescued Nakamba when they took him as he had been reduced to watching from the terraces at Aston Villa will rally behind them, praying that the Warriors defensive linkman gives a stellar performance.
Since arriving at Luton, Nakamba played 17 regular season games, inspiring his team to nine wins, seven draws and one defeat against Vincent Kompany-coached Burnley who won the championship and direct promotion to the English Premier League. Luton lost 1-0 to the champions.
Including the promotional playoffs, Nakamba has provided defensive cover in 19 games and tonight, he will be hoping to be on the podium and collect the winner’s medal.
Luton’s promotion could see Nakamba opting to stay at Kenilworth Road, turning his loan spell into a permanent move.
Having won the trust of manager Rob Edwards, a return to Aston Villa is seemingly impossible and deep down Nakamba knows that his shot at playing in the Premiership, being a regular in the topflight means the Hatters have to beat Coventry.
In league matches played against Coventry, Luton drew both legs 1-1 and 2-2.
If Luton can make it through the Championship play-offs, they will complete a journey that began in the National League, falling through the fourth tier courtesy of a 30-point deduction for financial mismanagement.
The Zimbabwean midfielder, who started and played the entire 90 minutes against Reading was voted the Luton Town Player of the Month for March and also won the Player of the Match accolade in his team’s come-from-behind 3-1 win over Blackpool on April 10.
In other news-ZEC favouring Zanu PF on voters roll – CCC
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change has accused the ruling Zanu PF party and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of colluding on the voters roll ahead of the August polls.
Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday to encourage party supporters to inspect the voters’ roll, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere called for transparency and fairness in electoral processes.
Mahere said there have been widespread WhatsApp and SMS messages sent to citizens, allegedly originating from President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party, urging the recipients to join a Zanu PF WhatsApp group. Learn more