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Afcon prospects motivate Darikwa

Tendayi Darikwa in Warriors colours against the Democratic Republic of Congo in October last year

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

WARRIORS defender Tendayi Darikwa is motivated by the prospects of playing at his first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). He said this is an interview ahead of the decisive Group G home tie against Congo this afternoon.

Darikwa, an attack-minded fullback, makes a welcome return to the national team fold after missing the away match in Liberia in November through suspension.

The Warriors need just a draw to book a ticket to Egypt 2019, but Congo stands between Zimbabwe and the Promised Land.

However, the 27-year-old Nottingham Forest star reckons the prize that comes with getting a positive result today has been a motivating factor for him and his teammates.

“We are all motivated as we know it’s a big match today and we know the reward at the end of it which is qualification for the tournament in Egypt. I am excited the Africa Cup of Nations is a big tournament all over the world, so hopefully we can qualify and go to Egypt and compete,” Darikwa said.

“It’s a good feeling to be back in the team, I was disappointed to miss the game against Liberia, but now especially being back home in Zimbabwe hopefully I can help the guys get the win and the qualification.”

Afcon qualification could define the football career of the former Burnley player and that of his teammates, especially if he gets to play at the finals and do well. Darikwa’s immediate dream is to help Zimbabwe beat Congo.

“My biggest dream right now is to win the match on Sunday [today] and qualify for the [Afcon] tournament this summer and hopefully go to Egypt and see what happens at the tournament there. There is huge potential in this team, lots of good players, so I think if we qualify for Egypt we can do really well there.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We have to respect Congo Brazzaville because they have some good players. In the first game it was 1-1 in Brazzaville and so we know it’s going to be a tough game and we just have to be ready,” he said.

Warriors’ 23-man squad

Goalkeepers: George Chigova, Edmore Sibanda

Defenders: Divine Lunga, Marshall Munetsi, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Tendayi Darikwa, Jimmy Dzingai, Ronald Pfumbidzai

Midfielders: Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Leeroy Mavhunga, Knowledge Musona, Ovidy Karuru, Butholezwe Ncube, Khama Billiat, Danny Phiri, Talent Chawapihwa

Strikers: Tinotenda Kadewere, Evans Rusike, Admiral Muskwe, Knox Mutizwa, Amidu Abbas.

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