UK: Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa plans to help ‘disadvantaged communities’ after Zimbabwe debut

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By Agencies

Having made his competitive debut for his country, Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa is now looking to give something back.

The Reds full-back started for Zimbabwe in their back-to-back African Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against DR Congo during the international break.

It was the first time he had played a competitive game for the Warriors, having previously been able to only feature in friendlies until he secured a Zimbabwe passport.

He first played his part in a 2-1 win on the road and then a 1-1 draw on home turf, with Zimbabwe pleased to get a run-out in front of his family.

“I was so happy to get the chance to finally play for Zimbabwe ,” he told The Herald. “Obviously, playing away from home, my first match eased off the pressure on my part.

“I managed to gel into the team without (any) pressure at all.

“I cannot explain the excitement I felt playing in front of the home crowd in Harare. The fans were great. My relatives, including my grandmother, also got a chance to watch me play and that was a very proud moment for me.”

He added: “I also have plans to source football equipment for disadvantaged communities.”

Darikwa says he was welcomed into the national squad by his teammates and is trying to integrate himself further by learning Shona, which is native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

“I am happy that we took four points from these two games,” the 26-year-old said.

“I also enjoyed the warm reception that I received from the players and supporters. The celebrations in the dressing room were great and I am making strides in learning Shona.”

Bookings in both of the recent ties, however, mean Darikwa will miss the team’s trip to Liberia next month.

A point from their remaining two games would clinch a place at next year’s tournament for Zimbabwe, though they may not even need that if other results go their way.

“I am naturally disappointed to be missing the (Liberia) match, but I am sure the boys will post a positive result in Liberia,” Darikwa said.

“It is not about me, but the team.

“We have some exceptional players who can do the job for the country.”