From not being able to afford football boots to gracing the Premier League – the story of Aston Villa Marvelous Nakamba is truly humbling.
For the Zimbabwean owes everything to his hardworking mum, Charity, a maid who spent months at a time hundreds of miles away in South Africa to help support her family at their one-room rented home in Bulawayo.
“I was born in Hwange but grew up in Bulawayo,” Nakamba said , “the second-largest city in Zimbabwe.
Life was not so easy but, with football, it made me enjoy life. It helped me a lot.
“Football kept me out of other things, it was not an easy life. It made everything look easy because I was playing football.
“My mother was working in South Africa so she could support me, buying me football boots and everything, my first boots were Puma.
She was there for me.
“She’d come back home every three or four months to visit for two, three weeks after being at work and did that again and again.
She had to do that to provide for the family. I stayed with my dad, Anthony.
It helped me focus more, to give everything to succeed in football for my family, for everyone around me.
It helped me grow up. To be satisfied with what I have, to give hunger to what I want, giving everything for my family.
“My mother was a maid in South Africa. My younger brother, Junior, was so young, staying with my auntie in another city, Victoria Falls.”
The Villa star’s quirky first name was born thanks to parents Charity and Anthony who, Nakamba admitted, were so excited that they called him Marvelous because, well, it was marvelous news.
“My name came from my parents,” he said. “My young brother is called Junior. My son will be called Junior Marvelous! But I think they were excited maybe, that’s why they gave the name Marvelous.
We learn English at school, they understood what it meant.”