Hatters midfielder Nakamba staying confident after Zimbabwe hold Nigeria to World Cup qualifying draw

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By Luton Today

Warriors captain discusses 1-1 result in Rwanda

Luton midfielder Marvelous Nakamba was left slightly disappointed to only pick up a point when starting for Zimbabwe in their World Cup qualifying 1-1 draw against Nigeria on Sunday.

Following a 1-1 draw with Rwanda last week, the 29-year-old was captaining his country for the second Group C game, the match again played in Rwanda due to a lack of stadiums available in Zimbabwe.

The hosts, ranked 125th by FIFA, took the lead against their opponents, who are 85 places higher in 40th, after 26 minutes when Polokwane City forward Walter Musona hammered a brilliant free kick into the top corner from 30 yards out.

After the break, the Warriors had chances to win it, but they were pegged back on 67 minutes when Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho produced a clinical finish from inside the box.

Speaking afterwards, Nakamba, who winning his 24th cap, also picking up a yellow card in the second period, said: “We tried our best as a team, we worked well on what we wanted to do and we got so many chances to finish the game.

“Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but we just have to keep on going and believe in ourselves.

“We’re just looking forward to going to the next match and we just have to stick together as players to encourage each other.

Town midfielder Marvelous Nakamba started Zimbabwe's 1-1 draw with Nigeria - pic: Liam Smith

Town midfielder Marvelous Nakamba started Zimbabwe’s 1-1 draw with Nigeria – pic: Liam Smith

“With the support that we’re having from the fans, from everyone in Zimbabwe here, we just have to say thank you very much and keep on going.”

With Zimbabwe playing their first internationals for over 18 months due to a suspension from FIFA, on how he felt the squad was gelling during their short time together, Nakamba added: “I think we have the chances to make it as a team and we just have to push each other more and demand from each other more, it will happen.

“I was impressed with the unity in the camp, whether it was players locally or players from abroad, the unity was there.

“Everyone was supporting each other, everyone was encouraging each other.”

With Nigeria surprisingly held to a 1-1 at home draw by Lesotho on Thursday, it means both sides are on two points after two games.

They are one point behind leaders South Africa, who beat Benin 2-1 and could extend that gap further when facing Rwanda tomorrow.

Zimbabwe’s next games are in June 2024 when they play Lesotho and South Africa.