Darikwa would be proud to play for Zimbabwe, but focus is on Clarets

Tendayi Darikwa
Tendayi Darikwa

Tendayi Darikwa took his chance to shine against Sunderland.

But if things had worked out differently, he might have been away for the month at the Total Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon with Zimbabwe.

The 25-year-old right back was born in Nottingham, to Zimbabwean parents, and was called up in September 2015, only to opt against linking up with the Warriors squad.

Playing for Zimbabwe is very much an ambition, however, he is only focusing on his club at present: “There was some contract for a few qualifiers but there was a bit of trouble with passport issues because I was born in this country.

“The door’s open for the future but at the minute my focus is on club football and I hope they can do well over there in the tournament.”

It is a rare appearance at AFCON, and Darikwa added: “It’s been a while since they’ve qualified, I think the last time they were in was 04 and 06. I watched the game at the weekend, they got a 2-2 draw against Algeria. It’s a bit like ourselves, I don’t think anyone gave them a chance. I can see they’re confident and they’re playing well so hopefully they can do it again.

“There’s a few European-based players and a lot of them play in the South African league. I’ve done a bit of research on them and they look good to be honest. After the game I was very impressed with them.”

Playing on the world stage appeals to the former Chesterfield man: “The door’s definitely open. My dad’s from there and I’m very proud of my heritage. Maybe in the near future it might happen.

“It’s a big tournament, some of the world’s best players, past and present, have played in it. Maybe one day, but at the minute the focus is on Burnley.”

Darikwa has only started three cup ties for Burnley this season, but hopes to take his chance when it comes: “It’s one of them. It’s out of my hands. I want to play more football, I’m in the building, I’m training properly and working hard and if the managers wants to play me he’ll play me.”