Rinomhota in Warriors U-turn

Andy Rinomhota

ENGLISH football Championship outfit Cardiff City midfielder Andy Rinomhota has finally expressed his desire to represent Zimbabwe on the international stage after snubbing a number of call-ups in the past.

Interestingly Rinomhota’s change of heart comes at a time when Zimbabwe is suspended from international football for what Fifa interpreted as third party interference in the country.

After a dismal World Cup qualification campaign last year, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Zifa board then headed by Felton Kamambo over a litany of charges.

But the SRC, who have been adamant about cleaning up local football, lifted the suspension on the Zifa board in June when the Zifa Council had already ousted Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Brighton Malandule from the board and bringing back Gift Banda as the acting leader.

However, news of Rinomhota’s sudden U-turn will be good news for Zimbabwe when the country returns to international football as he will add to the galaxy of talent of English-born who committed to playing for Zimbabwe such as Bournemouth’s Jordan Zemura and Tendayi Darikwa among others.

The talented 25-year-old defensive link man who snubbed former Warriors coach Zdravcko Logarusic’s spirited effort to bring him into the team set up says he was injured when the call came.

“The time they called me up I was injured. Since then it would be an issue of applying for a Zimbabwean passport. I haven’t gone around that process yet, but it’s something I will look into,” Rinomhota said ahead of this weekend’s match against Wigan.

Rinomhota spoke highly of the Afcon as a platform to showcase one’s skills.

“Afcon is a great platform to showcase your abilities. It’s another experience and another side to my game I could add, getting international experience.

“I haven’t looked at it too in depth, but I think I’d have to get a Zimbabwean passport,” he added.

Born in Leeds, to a Zimbabwean father and British mother, Rinomhota is one of several England-based players that Zimbabwe has pursued to switch allegiance including Darikwa, Alec Mudimu, striker Admiral Muskwe and forward Macauley Bonne, among many others.

Rinomhota was reportedly keen on representing England at national level when he received a call up from Logarusic for the Afcon qualifiers two years ago.

He also made the Warriors’ provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt, but was eventually omitted from the final squad as he did not have a Zimbabwean passport.

A versatile player who can also play at the back, Rinomhota joined Reading in 2015 and progressed through the ranks before breaking into their senior side and earning a regular role in the middle of the park while he was also Reading’s player-of-the-season award for 2018/19.

After making 139 appearances in all competition for championship side Reading, scoring four goals and making seven assists, Rinomhota signed a three-year contract with Wales-based Cardiff City and has made 13 starts so far this season with one assist.

Cardiff City were ranked 15th in the championship after 12 games going into the weekend matches.

Rinomhota’s side was scheduled to face Wigan, a team captained by Warriors defender Darikwa yesterday.

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