BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE senior national football team target, Tivonge Rushesha, is nearing a return to full fitness at English Championship side Swansea City after enduring eight difficult months on the sidelines because of a cruciate ligament injury.
The 18-year-old right-back made his senior debut for Swansea in the EFL Cup last season and is highly regarded at the Liberty Stadium.
Rushesha, a Wales Under-19 international, was born in Zimbabwe but moved to Britain as a youngster and has come through Swansea’s academy.
His hopes of a breakthrough season after being promoted to the first team however suffered a blow after suffering a serious injury.
According to Wales Online, Rushesha is close to regaining his full fitness and could be back in the Swansea squad by the end of next month.
“The young defender’s 2020/21 campaign was cruelly cut short as he suffered an ACL injury during a training session. Rushesha has fully recovered and is now building his way back to full fitness after recently returning to training. Expected return date: Late September/early October,” Wales Online said in an injury update for the player on Friday.
Rushesha is so highly regarded at Swansea that he was early this year offered a new contract by the club despite his long-term injury after putting pen to paper on a one-year extension that will keep him with the club until at least the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
He recently revealed that he has set his sights on coming back better and stronger.
He was promoted to the first-team squad by Steve Cooper following lockdown last year, and is keen to recover properly and be ready to make an impact upon his return.
“It’s been a tough time, obviously it’s a big disappointment to have the injury and to know you are going to be out for so long,” he said.
“The new contract is good because it gives me a bit more security and less pressure, as otherwise I might have been returning from the first serious injury of my career with less than a year left.
“But everyone has been really good to me, the gaffer always checks in with me to see how I am doing, and the medical staff have been excellent for me.
“The challenge now is to make sure I follow all their instructions, put the work in and look to come back and be stronger and better than I was before.”
Although Rushesha has played youth football with Wales’ national age-group teams, he has previously declared his desire to be part of the Warriors in the future.
FIFA rules allow junior players to switch allegiance.