Nakamba tipped for Warriors captaincy

England-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba

ENGLAND based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is set to be named Zimbabwe senior men's football team captain and will lead the squad in the back-to-back 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Nigeria later this month.

The star, who plays for English Premier League side Luton, will inherit the Warriors armband from Knowledge Musona who retired from international football last year.

While many had expected France-based Marshall Munetsi to be handed the captaincy, it has emerged that new Warriors coach Baltemar Brito has given the team's leadership role to Nakamba.

No comment could be obtained from the Brazilian expatriate, but a source confirmed to this publication that the 29-year old Hwange born, will be given the role.

Brito probably gave a clear indication that Nakamba will be his new skipper when he picked the former Bantu Rovers player to vote in the Ballon d'Or as the Zimbabwe captain representative two months ago.

"Unless something dramatic happens, it appears Brito wants Nakamba to be the new captain," the source said.

The Ballon d'Or award is voted for by national team coaches and their captains, and a selected group of journalists.

Nakamba is one of the senior players that have been retained in the Warriors squad to face Rwanda and Nigeria, together with the likes of Munetsi, goalkeeper Washington Arubi, Tendayi Darikwa, Teenage Hadebe, Jordan Zemura and Tino Kadewere.

These players are expected to form the backbone of the squad when they open their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a clash against Rwanda on November 15 at the Huye Stadium in Rwanda before 'hosting' Nigeria at the same venue four days later.

The Warriors have been forced to play their home match against the Super Eagles in Rwanda because Zimbabwe does not have a CAF certified stadium to host international matches.

Brito made a huge gamble when he on Wednesday announced a 28 provisional squad predominantly made up of foreign based players some, who have previously turned down the offer to play for the Warriors. Only eight players on the list were drawn from the domestic football league.

There are fears that some players especially those who were born and raised in England, might not avail themselves for the Rwanda and Nigeria matches, two games that will mark Zimbabwe's return to international football after an 18-month Fifa ban due to government interference.

Players such as Andy Rinemhota of Cardiff City in England, Tawanda Maswanhise of Leicester City and Tivonge Rushesha have previously been called up for Warriors duty, but did not show up.

There are also a number of new faces in the squad, including Liverpool’s highly-rated youngster Isaac Mabaya, Brentford goalkeeper Marley Tavaziva and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Leon Chiwome.

The three, who play for the English Premier League giants’ developmental squads, were all born in England, with Mabaya and Chiwome having already represented their country of birth at youth levels.

The big omissions from the squad are that of Ronald Pfumbidzai, Devine Lunga and inform striker Knox Mutizwa who is fresh from scoring a brace against Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend.  The trio were part of the Warriors training camp last month in preparation for the trip to Kigali, but have all been overlooked.

Donald Mudadi, who has been outstanding for Harare giants Dynamos and has been by far the best player on the local scene, is also not part of the provisional squad.

Brito, who has been criticised for ignoring players that are doing well in the local and South Africa league in favour of some England based player that are either bench warmers or not performing well at their lower league and developmental teams, has jumped to the defence of his selection.

“We do not look into the status of the players, all the decisions were made in the interests of Zimbabwean football," he said before explaining the exclusions of Pfumbidzai, Mutizwa and Lunga.

"It was a technical decision after we realised the players that we have in the same positions, the competitiveness and the minutes they have had.”

Zimbabwe are in Group C of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, whose other group members are South Africa, Lesotho and Benin.

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