Nakamba happy to be back in training. . . as EPL action resumption gathers momentum

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Godknows Matarutse
SPORTS WRITER
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw

WARRIORS star midfielder Marvellous Nakamba is pleased to resume training with his Aston Villa teammates ahead of the resumption of the English PremierLeague (EPL) matches next month.

The EPL has been suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak with most teams still to play 10 or nine games to complete the 2019-20 season.

Football authorities in England now hope to restart and complete the season next month, with matches taking place behind closed doors while players and staff have to undergo rigorous testing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Nakamba and his Aston Villa teammates began reporting for training at Boodymoor Heath on Tuesday and underwent coronavirus testing.

Once the testing was done, the players finally got a chance to take to the playing field on Thursday but were working only in small numbers while respecting social distancing protocols.

Despite the restrictions, Nakamba was delighted to have finally gotten the opportunity to be on the pitch after almost a three-month hiatus.

“Happy to be back,” Nakamba wrote on Twitter accompanied by a picture while training.
The Zimbabwe international midfielder is only in his first season with the Birmingham-based side in the English top flight after signing from Belgian side Club Brugge last year.

The former Bantu Rovers midfielder has already established himself as one of the Villains’ key players despite a difficult campaign in the EPL.

When the season was suspended, Nakamba’s Villa were in the drop zone in 19th place on the log with 25 points.
The return to small group training is the league’s first tentative step towards resumption which is no doubt sweet news to Aston Villa.

In recent weeks there has been a lot of discussions on how the EPL wanted to move forward in the wake of the pandemic.

One of the options that was on the table was to declare the season null and void or end it with current standings being considered as final.

The second option would have seen Aston Villa being relegated to the second tier Championship.
However, with the resumption looking likely, Villa still have their destiny in their own hands.

Nakamba and his teammates still have 10 games to go and six of those are at home at Villa Park where they will be confident of garnering a considerable number of points to climb out of the drop zone.

The EPL is probably drawing a lot of confidence with their resumption plans due to what is happening in other parts of Europe.

The Bundesliga in Germany became the first top league to return to action last weekend while the EPL and other top leagues such as Serie A in Italy and Spain’s La Liga are hopeful of following suit.

In Italy, teams were given the green light to resume group training but will only know later this month whether the season can resume.

The Italian season has been on hold since March 9 amid the pandemic which has killed more than 32 000 people in that country.

Serie A teams have been training individually since May 4, with a government decree suspending all competitions until June 14.

In Spain, all players were tested for Covid-19 and as tests come back negative, players were permitted to return to training.

Nakamba’s Warriors teammates Tino Kadewere and Marshal Munetsi will, however, not return to the field after French Prime Minister Edouard Philipe announced that no sporting events would take place in that country until at least September.

Paris Saint-Germain, who led the log standings in France’s top-flight division, were subsequently crowned Ligue 1 champions after French football authorities decided that the league’s final standings would be determined by a points-per-game system.

However, Kadewere, who plays for Le Havre, won the Ligue 2 Golden Boot having been on 20 goals, three ahead of Clermont’s Adrian Grbic, when the French Ligue 2 was initially suspended on March 13.

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