Zemura on the verge of Serie A history

ENGLAND-BORN Zimbabwe international Jordan Zemura is set to write his own piece of history to become the first footballer from this country to play in the Italian top-flight league when his side Udinese Calcio takes on giants Juventus at home tonight.

Zemura will provide the final piece of puzzle in Zimbabwe football flirtation with Europe's top five leagues.

Zimbabwe already has a long list of footballers, who have broken into elite leagues such as the English Premiership, Bundesliga, La Liga and the French Ligue 1.

Legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar made a name for himself in the English League back in the 1980s and 1990s before Peter Ndlovu, Benjamin Mwaruwari, Brendon Galloway, Marvelous Nakamba and Zemura followed suit.

Players such as Harlington Shereni, Marshall Munetsi and Tino Kadewere have all added the Zimbabwean flavour in the French top flight league.

In Germany former Warriors captain Knowledge Musona played in the Bundesliga following his move from South African giants Kaizer Chiefs.

It was only last year that a Zimbabwean player broke into the Spanish La Liga after Kadewere moved to Real Mallorca from French side Olympic Lyon on a season long loan deal although he failed to impress.

Zimbabwe has representation even in other lucrative leagues around the globe with Musona currently rubbing shoulders with global super stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Ngolo Kante and Neymar, among many other in Saudi Arabia.

Veteran striker Nyasha Mushekwi is holding his own as one of the league top scorers in Chinese top flight competition while Teenage Hadebe, who plays in the US Major League Soccer is soon to face seven-time Balon d'Or winner Lionel Messi who recently moved to Inter Miami.

But it is Zemura who is set to steal the lime light among the Zimbabwean footballers as he breaks new ground to play in Serie A.

The versatile 23-year-old defender joined Udinese from English league side Bournemouth at the end of last season after 61 senior appearances for the Cherries.

Udinese shrugged off stiff competition from premier league teams such as West Ham United, Newcastle United, Leeds United and Aston Villa who were reportedly circling around the player at the time.

But it was a far from ceremonious departure.

Zemura said the move was an opportunity for him to get out of his comfort zone in England and challenge himself to compete against the best players in Italy.

“Joining this fantastic club means a lot: playing against players in a difficult league, getting out of my comfort zone, in England, where I have lived all my life, to move to Italy, and obviously being able to learn the language and culture of Udine has been a great experience,” Zemura said on the Udinese website.

“When I arrived in Udine I brought my mother, she was impressed with the stadium and the importance of the club. They welcomed us as if we were already part of the family; they made us feel at ease.”

Udinese coach Andrea Sottil underlined his appreciation of Zemura's versatility last month after he revealed that he is toying with the idea of switching the player from his usual role as a left back to a right winger after being impressed by his attacking ability.

In fact, Zemura was deployed on the right wing in a 2–0 preseason friendly win against Cypriot league side Pafos, coming on as a second half substitute at the time.

Zemura, who joined Bournemouth from Charlton Athletic in 2019 and scored three goals in the process marked his official debut with an assist last week in a 4-1 drubbing of lower league side US Catanzaro in the Copa Italia first round tie.

Today he makes one giant step for Zimbabwe football on the Italian landscape against the biggest club in the European country.

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