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Darikwa keen to play for Zim


BURNLEY defender Tendayi Darikwa has said he is available for Warriors selection in future, having previously turned down the offer to play for the national football team.


Tendai Darikwa
Tendai Darikwa

The 25-year-old right back, born in Nottingham, England, qualifies for the Warriors through his father, who was born in Zimbabwe.

Darikwa, together with Everton’s Brendan Galloway, were in March last year named in Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa’s squad to face Swaziland in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier, but they both turned down the offer.

Pasuwa had also included Darikwa in the Warriors’ Afcon finals provisional squad, but the defender had difficulties in regularising his citizenship.

Speaking to the Burnley Express newspaper yesterday, Darikwa said he is keen to play for the Warriors in the future.

“The door’s definitely open. My dad’s from there (Zimbabwe) and I’m very proud of my heritage. Maybe in the near future, it might happen,” he said.

Darikwa said he was watching the Warriors at Afcon, currently underway in Gabon, with pride and was impressed by the team’s performance in their opening match against Algeria, which ended 2-2.

“There was some contact for a few qualifiers, but there was a bit of trouble with passport issues because I was born in this country (England). The door’s open for the future, but at the moment, my focus is on club football and I hope they can do well over there in the tournament.

“It’s been a while since they’ve qualified, I think the last time they were in was 04 and 06. I watched the game at the weekend. They got a 2-2 draw against Algeria. It’s a bit like ourselves, I don’t think anyone gave them a chance. I can see they’re confident and they’re playing well, so hopefully they can do it again.

“There’s a few Europe-based players and a lot of them play in the South African league. I’ve done a bit of research on them and they look good, to be honest. After the game, I was very impressed with them.”

Playing at the Afcon appeals to the former Chesterfield man: “It’s a big tournament. Some of the world’s best players, past and present, have played in it. Maybe one day, but at the moment, the focus is on Burnley.”

Darikwa has only started in three cup ties for Burnley this season, but hopes to take his chance when it comes.

“It’s one of them. It’s out of my hands. I want to play more football, I’m in the building, I’m training properly and working hard and if the manager wants to play me he’ll play me.”

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