Zemura’s Cherries promoted

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Jordan Zemura

BY HENRY MHARA
Warriors star Jordan Zemura will be playing in the English Premier League (EPL) next season after his Bournemouth team secured automatic promotion to the big time following a win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

This comes days after his Warriors compatriot Tendayi Darikwa captained his Wigan side to promotion back to the English Championship.

The right-back was an integral part of the Latics team which were confirmed League One champions at the weekend and will play in England’s top-tier.

Another Zimbabwean Tivonge Rushesha is also making waves in the UK after picking up Swansea under-23 player of the season award at a ceremony on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old midfielder who was recently named the captain of the team is yet to commit his allegiance to the Warriors.

It is Zemura’s promotion to the EPL which is perhaps the major highlight of the week for the Warriors stars abroad.

Zemura enjoyed his breakthrough season with Bournemouth where he featured 32 times out of the 45 games that they played. He scored three goals.

He was a crucial part of the Scott Parker-coached side and only missed games for his club when he was with the Warriors at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.

Zemura also had some injuries during the season, and the Cherries struggled during his absence in a spell that at one time threatened to derail the team’s campaign.

The 22-year-old full-back has only a year left on his contract with the club, expiring in June next year, and is expected to start negotiations for a long-term contract.

Parker has publicly stated his desire to keep the player, which he has described as a “valuable asset.”

Several EPL clubs including big spending Newcastle are reportedly monitoring his situation.

Zemura joins Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba, who is the only other Zimbabwean currently playing in the English topflight.

If he stays, he will become the fourth Zimbabwean to play in the EPL after Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari.

Darikwa was part of the Burnley squad that won promotion into the EPL in 2016, but didn’t feature for the club in the league.

Bournemouth got the goal their efforts deserved seven minutes from time — with Zemura playing a huge part in the decisive moment.

His mazy run drew a foul on the edge of the penalty area and Philip Billing rolled a free-kick cleverly into the path of substitute Kieffer Moore, who coolly fired the ball into the far corner to wrap up the Championship’s second automatic spot at Forest’s expense.

The home fans spilled onto the pitch at full-time after their side survived eight long minutes of injury time to seal their EPL comeback.

Forest, who needed a win to leapfrog the Cherries in the table, will now have to try to end their 23-year top-flight exile via the play-offs.

Bournemouth spent two years in the second tier after they dropped from the EPL. They join English Football League Championship champions Fulham into the big time.

Parker hailed his “special group” of players.

“I am very proud of the team and the group of players,” said Parker who left newly-crowned champions Fulham to join the Cherries last summer.

“I see this group every day from the minute I walk in here. This group is special and they deserve their moment, they deserve to be in the Premier League. I am excited and pleased we are in the Premier League. We deserve it. Our aim was to get promoted and we have done it.”

“This group is a young team, learning their trade in a promotion task. One thing about this group, if we need a result we dig deep and find it.”

  • Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara