Zemura inspired by Benjani

Newly capped Zimbabwean international and Bounemouth defender Jordan Zemura is a great admirer of former Manchester City striker and Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari.

BY MICHAEL KARIATI

Zemura, who was born in England but hails from Murewa under Chief Mangwende, spoke glowingly of the Undertaker, who apart from Manchester City, also played for Portsmouth in England as well as FC Zurich in Switzerland and Auxerre in France after leaving Jomo Cosmos of South Africa.

“A big (Zimbabwean) player for me is Benjani who played in England when I was growing up. To see a countryman of his stature and to reach what he did would be everything. How can I forget his celebration which was amazing and lit up my eyes?” said Zemura, who plays in the English Championship.

Zemura who made his Zimbabwean debut in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) matches against the Desert Foxes of Algeria, does not want to make promises to Zimbabwean football followers, but says he will do everything to the best of his ability to make them happy.

He believes Zimbabwe’s Warriors are on the right track and could even go higher than before if the current momentum can be maintained.

“The team is on the right path and we will do everything we can to inspire other young players coming up in the country. I can guarantee that I will do everything for the people of Zimbabwe and for the country,” said Zemura.

His father Saymore spoke highly of his son’s love for football, saying Jordan has come a long way with the game.

“Jordan plays from the left and likes to attack a lot. He has been in the game and developing himself at junior level. I think he will make a big contribution for the Warriors,” he said.

Jordan, whose totem is Moyo muzukuru Gono Chirandu, said he was happy to get a Warriors call-up and wants to be part of the team for as long as he can play.

“I know they have qualified for Afcon before and it’s something I want to be part of. They are on the rise and I was really excited to link up with the squad,” said Zemura who was part of the Warriors for the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against the Desert Foxes.

In fact, Jordan is among the new crop of a young generation of Warriors alongside Tino Kadewere, Prince Dube and Marshall Munetsi, among others, who are expected to be the rock from where the future Zimbabwe team would be built.

He looks back with pride to the home match against the Algerians at the National Sports Stadium, a game in which the Warriors were unfortunate to share the points in a two-all draw.

“We played as if we had been playing together for years. We could have won that match, but we wasted too many chances. Our focus is now on our next game and to qualify for Afcon,” said Zemura.

Unfortunately, there were no fans in the National Sports Stadium to watch Zdravko Logarusic’s class of 2020 as spectators were not allowed as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19.

However, football fans were able to watch their favourite team live on television.

Zemura is confident that they will win their remaining two matches and qualify for the finals.

“It’s good that our next game is at home, which will be an advantage. We are united as a team. We are focused and I am hopeful we will achieve our goals,” said Zemura.

Apart from Afcon 2022, Zimbabwe also have 2022 World Cup assignments in which the Warriors are in the same group with Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa. One team from the group sails through to the final qualifying round.

Zemura said he wants to reach the highest he can and one day look back at his career with pride.

“In three years, I want to be at the best of my game and playing in the English Premier League (EPL) which I believe is the best league. All that comes with hard work, perseverance and resilience,” says JZ, as Zemura is called by his followers and teammates.

Premiership football, however, could come earlier than expected for the 21-year-old. His Bournemouth side is pushing strongly for automatic promotion into the EPL.

At the moment, Bournemouth are placed second on the 20-team Championship log with 26 points from 13 matches, just a point behind leaders Norwich.

The son of Saymore Zemura and Sharon Mazenge, Jordan was born in Lambeth, London, in England, on November 14, 1999. He has also played for Charlton Athletic having attended the University of Canterbury.

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