Tendayi Darikwa says he has always wanted to play for the Warriors, but the passport issue and the way the former Zifa administration conducted its duties delayed his debut for the national team.
The Nottingham Forest defender played for Zimbabwe for the first time in 2017 in a friendly match against Lesotho, but his debut appearance in a competitive encounter came last month in the 2019 Afcon qualifiers against DRC.
In an interview with Nottingham Post, a UK news website, the 26-year old said:
“I am very proud of my upbringing and my heritage. Playing for Zimbabwe was always something that I wanted when the opportunity became clear.
“It is my father who is from Zimbabwe, and I have been eligible to play for them, since birth.
“I looked at playing for them a few years back. The passport situation had been difficult, so it did not materialise as quick as I would have liked it to.”
Darikwa first revealed his intention for playing for the country way back in 2010 but was frustrated when former Zifa CEO, Henrietta Rushwaya demanded a $5000 payment from him to “process” his documents.
“Over the years, because of the way the FA worked and because of the way the country was, it was not the most professional set-up. But they have managed to sort things out, and I am very pleased with the way it has gone,” he added.
Meanwhile, a point could be enough for Zimbabwe to qualify for the finals – which will start in June, in Cameroon – when they travel to face Liberia tomorrow afternoon. However, Darikwa will not be involved in the game, having collected a suspension.