CHESTERFIELD winger Tendayi Darikwa says he is undecided on which country to represent between England and Zimbabwe.
REPORT BY MICHAEL MADYIRA SPORTS REPORTER
Recent reports indicated the 21-year-old had turned his back on the Warriors, while some pointed out that he was eager to represent Zimbabwe.
Darikwa exclusively opened up to NewsDay Sport and revealed that he was still weighing up his options and would first consult his family before making a choice.
He said he was keen to play for Zimbabwe a few years ago, but after allegedly being asked to pay $5 000 “processing fee” by a former Zimbabwe Football Association official, he was forced to reconsider his decision.
The England-born player holds a British passport and is eligible to play for the Warriors by virtue of his father Timothy being a Zimbabwean, but the country’s laws, however, do not permit dual citizenship.
World football governing body Fifa statutes spell out that a player should not represent more than one country at senior level.
The player, who is enjoying a purple patch at his League Two side, conceded that he was aware it was easier to break into the Warriors team than the England side.
Merseyside foes Liverpool and Everton are reported to have made inquiries about him, but a move to Anfiled would boost his England chances.
“That is a very hard decision to make and I have not yet made up my mind on which country to play for. This is a big choice that will have a bearing on my career,” Darikwa said.
“I would love to play for England, but at the same time I have a Zimbabwean father. I know my chances to play for England are slimmer than those of playing for Zimbabwe, but I have confidence in my ability. One day I will represent a national team, but at the moment I do not know which one. I will just sit down with my family to help me decide although at the end of the day it will be my choice.”
He said he was stunned when asked to pay $5 000 to play for Zimbabwean youth national teams.
“I was a bit confused why someone has to pay to play for the national team. It was strange and shocking. From then I just told myself that I have to seriously consider where I want to play,” Darikwa said.
Referred to as Dave by his teammates because of his second name David, Darikwa grew up with his mother after she separated with his father when he was young.
He has never been to Zimbabwe and cannot speak any local Zimbabwean language.
“I live with my mum in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, but my dad’s house is just five minutes away from my place and I talk to him everyday. My dad promised to teach me Shona when I was young, but he never did,” Darikwa said.
“I know nothing about the Zimbabwean local league. But I know Bradley Pritchard although I have never met him as well as Cecil Nyoni from Sheffield (Wednesday).
“Obviously growing up in England I watched Peter Ndlovu a lot and I was excited that a guy from my father’s country was doing well.
“There was also Bruce Grobbelaar and Benjani (Mwaruwari),” Darikwa said.
Having been named Football League Young Player of the Month for December last year, Darikwa felt he was ready for an English Premier League challenge.