Arsenal hero Nelson eligible to play for Zimbabwe

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By Sports Reporter

ARSENAL winger Reiss Nelson has been hogging the limelight after he came off the bench to score an injury-time winner which steered the English Premier League Arsenal leaders to a 3-2 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Nelson lashed home an effort in the final minute of the game to seal a thrilling win against Bournemouth, who had England-born Zimbabwe international Jordan Zemura in their starting line-up.

While Nelson is currently classified as British, having been born in London, the 23-year-old winger is eligible to play for the Warriors through his father, who is a Zimbabwean.

Though Nelson has represented England at junior, he hasn’t played for the Three Lions at senior level, which means he can still be persuaded to represent Zimbabwe at the international level in the future.

Zimbabwe international Tendayi Darikwa, who switched allegiance from England to Zimbabwe in 2017, in the past described Nelson as a “capable” and “talented” player who’d be welcomed with open arms in the Warriors setup.

“I think it’s a personal decision that someone has to make to switch allegiances or go and represent a certain country,” Darikwa, who is at English Championship side Wigan told On The Whistle in November 2020.

“We all know how capable Reiss is and talented he is as a footballer, and he can only improve our team and our country.

“We welcome Reiss to come and play for the Warriors. We’d love him to come but he needs to make the decision himself without getting pressure from people outside.

“He’s played for England at youth level, if he wants to carry on playing for England, that’s fine but if he wants to play for Zimbabwe, we’ll welcome him together.”

Zimbabwe football authorities would however face a difficult task trying to convince Nelson to consider playing for the Warriors as the Southern African country is currently suspended from international football by FIFA due to government interference in the affairs of the country’s football federation, ZIFA.

The suspension means that no Zimbabwean football team can participate in international football, while FIFA has also withheld all funding to the country.