By Sports Reporter
AFTER spending 10 months on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury, Zimbabwe international defender Tendayi Darikwa looks poised for a return when the English Football League Championship resumes next month after resuming training with his Nottingham Forest on Monday.
The 28-year-old England-born Zimbabwean defender expressed his delight on social media after his first training session at Forest’s Nigel Doughty Academy.
Darikwa has not played any competitive football since undergoing surgery on his right knee after suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) on the eve of the season in August last year and has yet to feature under the club’s new boss Sabri Lamouchi.
He posted a picture on Instagram of himself running, while keeping a safe distance from teammate Matty Cash, and said: “Good to be back.”
Cash, meanwhile, wrote: “So good to be back out there.”
Darikwa was a key player for Forest under both Aitor Karanka and Martin O’Neill last season, making 31 appearances across all competitions.
But the right-back has been unable to make an impact under Lamouchi after sustaining an anterior injury back in pre-season, which has left him sidelined for a number of months.
Darikwa was part of the Zimbabwe squad at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt where he featured in all the Warriors’ group matches against the hosts, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The AFCON participation came on the back of an impressive 2018/19 season for Darikwa in the English Championship.
He was used sparingly in pre-season for the Reds after being away with the Zimbabwe Warriors, before suffering the injury blow in July.
Darikwa has been with Forest since 2016, when he joined from Burnley. Since his arrival at the City Ground, he has played 63 times, scoring one goal and assisting one goal along the way.
Prior to his Forest move, the Zimbabwean defender played 29 times for Burnley over the course of two seasons with the club. He had joined the Clarets from Chesterfield, where he came through the youth academy and played 150 times.
Darikwa and his Nottingham Forest teammates have been enjoying a return to training for the first time in more than two months.
The Championship campaign has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis since early March, with nine rounds of fixtures still to play.
But following the first round of mass Covid-19 testing among second tier clubs, the Reds have taken to the grass again ahead of the English Football League hoping to restart the action next month.
Lamouchi’s men sit fifth in the table, 10 points off second-placed West Bromwich Albion, as they target a place in the Premier League.
Initially, Forest will take part in non-contact training, following social distancing guidelines.
However, the British government has outlined “stage two” of its guidance which enables competitive and close-contact training.
The guidance, published in conjunction with the British public health officials and sports medical officers, allows for organised, close-contact training, under carefully controlled medical conditions.
The advice is geared towards establishing the conditions for stage three of the process, which is expected to be achieved next month with a resumption of sports, including English Premier League matches, behind closed doors.