BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe international forward Nyasha Mushekwi insists he is not worried about speculation surrounding his football future following reports that he could be on his way out of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang ahead of the new season scheduled to begin on Friday.
The 31-year-old striker, who is on the verge of making a comeback after undergoing surgery in Europe last year, faces an uncertain future in China after reports last week that he could be sacrificed by Dalian Yifang after his club exhausted their quota of foreign players.
Last week Dalian Yifang completed the signings of Levante’s Ghanaian star Emmanuel Boateng and Slovenia international midfielder Marek Hamsik from Napoli.
The duo’s arrival means Dalian Yifang have exceeded their foreign quota that allows only four foreign players and an additional foreign player from an Asian country to be registered in a team per each season.
The other foreign players on the Dalian Yifang roster include Belgian international Yannick Carrasco, Argentinian left winger Nicolas Gaitan and Colombian centre forward Duvier Riascos, who is reportedly on his way out of the club.
And according to the Dalian Daily, Mushekwi, who according to Transfermrkt, is under contract at Dilan Yifang until 2020, could be shipped out of the club despite being a favourite of the fans due to his goal-scoring prowess since joining the club two years ago.
The Warriors striker, however, told StandardSport from his Chinese base that he was not concerned about the uncertainty.
“I’m not really worried about the speculation surrounding my future,” Mushekwi said. “I’m just pushing to get better each day and every season. After my injury, it was tough to be where I am right now, but we keep going, we keep pushing. My recovery has gone well and we start next weekend. Will keep pushing hard, it’s not easy, but we will get there,” he said.
The uncertainty over Mushekwi’s future has led to speculation that the former CAPS United player could be poised for a return to Swedish side Djurgården, while Major League Soccer (MLS) side Seattle Sounders are also reportedly angling for a loan move for the player.
Djurgården sports director Bosse Andersson, however, ruled out a return. “I have had contact with Nyasha and I am quite updated on the situation. I see it as an impossibility now that he would play in Djurgården. He is incredibly popular here, but he signed a new contract that he has two years left on,” Andersson told the Swedish website Football Channel.
Mushekwi joined Djurgården on loan in 2015 from South African side Mamelodi Sundowns before going to enjoy immediate success, which led to the move to the then Chinese second-tier side Dalian Yifang in January 2016.
The free-scoring striker, who has hit the nets 51 times in 79 appearances for Dalian Yifang so far, helped the side earn promotion from the Chinese League One into the Super League.
He then lit up the Super League in his maiden season in China’s top flight, scoring 15 goals and notching four assists in just 20 games despite being frozen from the side at the start of the campaign and missing the end of the season due to a hip injury.
Despite his success in China, Mushekwi’s future with the Warriors remains up in the air having not featured for the national team since the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.
Mushekwi together with ex-Warriors captain Willard Katsande, Cuthbert Malajila and Matthew Rusike were reportedly banned from the Warriors by former Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa for allegedly inciting a protest over non-payment of bonuses two years ago.
He was, however, recalled to the national team ahead of the 2019 Afcon qualifier against Congo Brazzaville last September, but did not travel for the tie due to injury although he continued to turn out for his Chinese side.
“The issue of the Warriors is a sensitive topic, but as long as I can run I’ll always love to represent my country, just with the way things happened the last time I don’t know if I’ll get another call up,” he said.
Mushekwi will be hoping to be considered for selection into the Warriors squad for their 2019 Afcon final qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville next month.
The Warriors need just to avoid defeat in that game to seal their place at the 2019 Afcon finals to be hosted by Egypt in June.