Luton – Midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has vowed to start shooting more after his successful spotkick during the Hatters’ penalty shootout win over Coventry City in the Championship play-off final at Wembley last month.
The 29-year-old Zimbabwe international made a massive name for himself during his loan spell at Kenilworth Road, playing 20 times after moving from Aston Villa in the January transfer window.
Although there were plenty of shouts of ‘shoot’ whenever he had the ball outside the area, only once in memory did Nakamba ever actually pull the trigger, that time troubling supporters rather than the opposition goalkeeper, with his average of 0.3 attempts per game, less than Tom Lockyer, Amari’i Bell, Gabe Osho and even Sonny Bradley.
However, his game had far more to it than that, with 4.3 tackles per match easily the highest in the Hatters squad, also joint second for interceptions as well, teams barely scoring against Luton from open play when he was on the field.
With that in mind, there would have been some trepidation when Nakamba stepped up from the spot during the crunch part of the shootout at the home of English football, going third with the scores level at 2-2, especially when his last goal came for Vitesse Arnhem in their 5-0 Dutch Eredivisie win over Sporting Rotterdam way back in March 2017.
Nervous or not, the Zimbabwe international blocked out the noise to confidently tuck his attempt into the bottom corner, as Town went on to reach the Premier League with a 6-5 success once Fankaty Dabo missed the target.
Speaking at the Town Hall Civic reception last week, Nakamba was up for trying his luck more often from now, saying: “We practice a lot of penalties and so far, although I think I missed one in the Carabao Cup, I’ve been quite a decent penalty taker.
“Even in training when we’re practicing, I was doing okay with it, so I was pushing and willing to be selected to take one of the penalties.
“Hopefully I will shoot soon, sometimes it depends, hopefully soon I’ll shoot more.
“I think I’ll take some balls home now and practice now, do some shooting!”
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) June 6, 2023