BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
WARRIORS defender Tendayi Darikwa has been rewarded with the captain’s armband for the upcoming season barely eight months after joining the League One side and helping them to escape relegation on the final day in the last campaign.
Darikwa featured in every single minute of the 26 matches that the former English Premier League club played after he joined during the January transfer window.
This was after he had endured torrid 18-months without kicking a ball at Nottingham Forest after a lengthy injury, which saw him fall down the pecking order in his position.
The 29-year-old Zimbabwe international defender went on to sign a new two-year deal with the club during the summer break as it looks to build a team that will help the team back into the Championship next season.
Wigan, which spent nine months in administration last season, was bought by Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi from Bahrain through his company Phoenix 2021 Limited Group in March with a vision to drive the club back to its glory days.
Darikwa has been chosen to lead the clubs’ initial quest for former glory and he described the faith shown in him as a big honour.
“Honoured to be named captain of such a great club. Myself, the players and all the staff will do everything we can to achieve our goals this season. Can’t wait to have you all back with us,” the Warriors fullback said as he took to social media to react to the new responsibility.
Max Power, who is returning to the club from Sunderland, is the new vice-captain while Jamie Jones remains as Latics’ Club captain, the club announced.
“We can confirm that Tendayi Darikwa is the Wigan Athletic captain for the 2021/22 season, with Max Power and Jamie Jones forming the club’s leadership team as vice-captain and club captain.
“Darikwa arrived at the club in January, and instantly became a mainstay in the Latics starting side with his impressive displays down the right, helping to secure safety in Sky Bet League One.
“With over 200 appearances in English football, and having worked with manager Leam Richardson before at Chesterfield, the new Latics skipper will look to lead the Club into a successful new era,” read a statement on the Wigan official website.
Coach Leam Richardson shared his sentiments on Darikwa’s selection as captain.
“(But) this year, we will have Tendayi Darikwa as captain, and Max Power as vice-captain. I have got that relationship with them from the past, and I feel they have the qualities to take it on. They can be that go-to between the management group and the playing squad, and they can solve any issues or problems,” he said.
The development will certainly point the Warriors’ technical department headed by embattled Croatian Zdravko Logarusic to Darikwa’s leadership qualities.
Darikwa could come in handy as one of the leaders in the national team set up.
However, one thing for sure is that he will play a key role in the country’s 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign at his favoured right back position.
The Warriors begin their quest for a maiden World Cup ticket against South Africa and Ethiopia early next month.