Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa proud of Zimbabwe debut

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The 26-year-old Nottingham Forest defender made his competitive debut for Zimbabwe away in the DR Congo in a 2019 Afcon qualifier last week

Newly-capped Warriors right-back Tendayi Darikwa has saluted his Warriors teammates and fans.

The England-born former Burnley star featured for 90 minutes when Zimbabwe beat DR Congo 2-1 away in Kinshasa last weekend, and again lasted the entire match in the 1-1 draw with the same side in Harare on Tuesday.

“I enjoyed the warm reception that I received from the players and supporters. The celebrations in the dressing room were great and I am making strides (in) learning Shona,” Darikwa told The Herald.

Prior to his debut, Darikwa’s international career hung in the balance following delays in obtaining a Zimbabwean passport, having expressed interest to represent the Southern African country a few years ago.

He had only featured for the Warriors in international friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia last year, before finally making his maiden competitive appearence in Kinshasa last Saturday.

“I was so happy to get the chance to finally play for Zimbabwe,” Darikwa said.

“Obviously, playing away from home, my first match eased off the pressure on my part. I managed to gel into the team without (any) pressure at all.

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“I cannot explain the excitement I felt playing in front of the home crowd in Harare. The fans were great. My relatives, including my grandmother, also got a chance to watch me play and that was a very proud moment for me.

“We have a group of players that has a mixture of talent and experience.”

Darikwa will however not be available for next month’s Afcon qualifying trip to Liberia after picking up a yellow card in each of the matches against DR Congo home and away.

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