Liverpool, Everton chase Zim starlet

LONDON — LIVERPOOL and Everton are in a battle to sign Chesterfield midfield sensation Tendayi Darikwa.

Report by Daily Star/Sports Reporter

Nottingham-born Darikwa (21) already carries a £2m rating after 27 starts for the Spireites.
He is being tracked by a host of Premier League sides, but the Mersey giants are front-runners for his signature.

Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers and Goodison chief David Moyes have had Darikwa watched on a weekly basis over the past few months.

Darikwa, who was the Football League Young Player of the Month for December, recently signed a new three-year deal with the League Two outfit.

But the Derbyshire minnows, who once took up former Highlanders midfielder Honour Gombami on trial, are resigned to losing their prize asset to the top flight.

Chesterfield boss Paul Cook said: “Tendayi is already a very good footballer. He is going to have a very good career.”

He is the second Zimbabwean in England after Bradley Pritchard who turns out for Charlton Athletic. He was called for last year’s World Cup match against Guinea by then coach Rahman Gumbo, but did not play.

He remains in the plans of new coach Klaus Dieter Pagels.

Another Zimbabwean, Australian Super-A League goalkeeper Tando Yuji Velaphi, has asked to be considered for the Warriors.

The Melbourne Victory goalie, who has represented Australia at age-group level making him eligible to play for Zimbabwe, has a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother.

Velaphi, who is 25, joins a chorus of young Zimbabweans abroad who want to play for the Warriors. Some of them are Cecil Nyoni at Sheffield Wednesday, Farai Hallam of Stevenage (who play in the same league as Warriors defender Onesimo Bhasera’s Plymouth), Mikaeel White of Barnet and even young whizkid Jonathan Fusco at Sheffield Wednesday.

Already Zimbabwe have lost out on Adam Henley who is at Blackburn who might play for Wales or the United States. Marc David Wilson who is at Stoke has been called up in Northern Ireland though he has not represented them yet.

Darikwa has been receiving rave reviews in the UK lately and a move to one of the big clubs cannot be ruled out.

In late September Tommy Wright, now assistant to Paul Cook, but back then running the first team following the departure of John Sheridan, pushed him into an attacking position for the trip to Northampton. It was Darikwa’s first league start.

“There was nothing particularly tactical about the decision,” Wright told BBC Sport. “We had a few injuries and I knew he would work hard.

“Since then he has flourished. What has happened to him over the last six months is massive. It has got to the point where you can see other teams worrying about how to stop him.”

Cook took over as manager in late October and shortly afterwards gave Darikwa a new three-year deal.

“I don’t think he is very good,” deadpanned the affable Cook when asked what he thought of Darikwa.

“I think everyone should leave him alone. I think he is going backwards at the minute.”

But in truth he readily acknowledges that in a short space of time Darikwa, who usually plays on the right side of an attacking trio behind a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, has become one of his key players.

“He is already a very good footballer and he is going to have a very good career,” Cook said.
“We all want young lads to be in the team, but they must be good enough — and he certainly is.”

“The biggest thing about Tendayi has always been his desire and his attitude in training,” added Wright, who had nothing but generous words for a young man he clearly rates very highly.

“He is very level headed and a pleasure to work with. I wish there were a lot more like him.”

Cook reckons that joining a professional club at a relatively late age may have worked in Darikwa’s favour, arguing “it can leave you with that bit more hunger, desire and scope for improvement”.

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  1. This system of tracking footballer plying their trade abroad who have Zimbabwean origin works. A classic case is that of Cape Verde. I urge tha Warriors Coach to try it. ZIFA should take a leaf from the Cape Verde FA and give these youngsters a chance. They should give the coach the resources necessary for him to deliver. Go Warriors Go.

    1. U mean no need to devellop homegrown talent? U mean invite people who have probably never been to Zimbabwe but just coz their parents are diasporans they can play for the squad? Then when we find people not knowing the national anthem mozoti havana patriotism. It sounds like u r after the glory of the world stage but do not think youth development will work. Almost like Mugabe who thought taking farms would mean money in the pocket but look what happened there……

  2. Even Ghana and Nigeria do the same system of tracking players abroad. I support this 100%.

  3. It is surprising that we do have so many players in reputable leagues. it can only be a step forward if we have serious leaders in football. For staters how can the coaches assess the said players when we ignore most of the FIFA dates for friendlies? How can the coaches scout for the said playes when ZIFA is always broke? I feel all this talent will be wasted for as long as we have this current crop of leaders who is always moving with a begging bowl.They have no fundraising initiative whatsoever and seem to be making decisions based on one’s tribe.Further, I think the media should keep on tracking and reporting on these players instead of amplyfying mediocre players here and putting pressure on national coaches.

  4. give the list of of players with Zim origin to Pagels/Zifa and force him/them to have a look at them. Many countries are doing that .Thank you for the list there are more in the Premiership just have to persuade them

  5. i think its a good idea to track these players with zim origin

  6. Well l think ZIFA should put more effort in developing the local leagues. In as much Egypt has not been performing well of late (due to political instability) its national team has been mainly constituted by local players who are very competitive. Relying on players in foreign clubs is not a sustainable approach especially players who may be stil zim citizens but residents of other countries. Ghana learnt its lesson from Boateng.

  7. that”s the wayfoward so many families move to UK during last 15 years and Uk used to colonise us long back so we have vibrent UK link keep it up the media because these players are already technically good.

  8. WE ALSO HEV Samson nyamunda,tonerai matekenya,takudzwa gutsa,mpumelelo matutu,ezra zigarwi,all in America.these youngsters needs to be followed thru.we need them in the national team.they a re doing well in their respective teams

  9. King Zaka wants to thank you the reporter for such a well researched atticle not some of the staff which we get from Herald esp on overamplifying someone’s performance. Another thing is that a person like Moses Chunga should move around the country taking talented players from Secondary Schools there at a reasonable age. I am saying this because during my days @ Gokomere, there was Tauya Murewa and Musindo…. from these guys’ perfomance during those days, you could see that they were Premier League material…Tauya had to come to Hre for University and from UZ he had to weave his way up to Dembare. most of his years were wasted playing for lower levils. This guy is talented, u remember the Horia days, he was one of the stars. He did form 5 and 6 at Gokomere

  10. Actually its a good idea, these guys need to be given a chance and see if they can deliver, You cannot take all of them at once but its really good to asses them

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