Gerald Takwara was by far Zimbabwe’s best player at the AFCON 2021 finals.
The midfielder, who is also comfortable playing in defence, was part of Norman Mapeza’s 23 man squad for the 33rd edition of the biannual showpiece in Cameroon back in January, despite not taking part in the qualifiers.
Even though Zimbabwe failed to make it to the knockout stages of the continental showpiece at the 5th time of asking, Takwara had a good tournament in Cameroon and barely put a foot wrong in the Warriors backline.
He was even named man of the match in Zimbabwe’s last game —a 2-1 triumph over Guinea.
Ideally, Takwara would have wanted to carry from where he left in Cameroon and excel for Zimbabwe in the AFCON 2025 qualifiers a few months later.
Unfortunately for 27-year old, international football is now wishful thinking.
Zimbabwe is currently banned by FIFA because of what the world governing body termed ‘third party interference’ after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board.
Subsequently, Zimbabwe cannot take part in international tournaments and Takwara feels the pain of not representing his country.
“After having a good tournament, all I wanted to do is to keep on having more international games and grow as a player,” Takwara told Soccer24 from his base in Saudi Arabia, where he now turns out for the Middle East county’s second tier side Ohodo FC.
“It’s so painful after the tournament I couldn’t and still can’t play anymore, but it is what it is,” added Takwara.
Despite the disappointment of not playing international football, the former FC Platinum star is enjoying his football in the oil-rich gulf country.
He has settled well and even scored twice this season. He is also the penalty taker for the Emmanuel Ugbo-coached side.
“My start to life in Saudi Arabia has been okay. Of course different cultures and different language but with time I will just,” said Takwara.
“Scoring makes me feel close to being a complete playef. If I can defend and score that would help the team a lot,” he added.