Summerfield thrilled by Zimbabwe’s return to international football

United Kingdom-based Young Warriors star Sébastien Summerfield believes Zimbabwe’s readmission to the international football community is a turning point in the development of the game.

Zimbabwe was suspended by FIFA for ‘third party interference’ in February last year, after the country’s sports regulatory body —the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA administration for a litany of allegations, chiefly failure to account for public funds.

The world governing body lifted the suspension and appointed a four-member normalisation committee which will be in charge of ZIFA until at least June 2024.

Summerfield (21), who was part of the Young Warriors squad which took part in the Cosafa U-20 championship in South Africa in December 2020, reckons the lifting of the suspension is massive opportunity for young players to represent the country.

“The suspension was really one of the most tough things especially for us young players, as we played our last competitive game in December 2020,” Summerfield told Soccer24.

“We were the last youth team to play, due to the fact that we went  to Cosafa (Youth Championship) in 2020, with the likes of Bill Antonio,  Tino Muringai, Kelvin Mangiza and so many other amazing players.

“I was 18 at then, and I’m now 21, which means I missed some U20 caps and now have to look for caps in the U23 or senior team,” he added.

Summerfield admits representing the country is every player’s dream and he is no exception.

“I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to represent my country because representing your country is one of the biggest things a person wants to do when they play competitive sport,” said Summerfield.

“So when I was called up for the U20s, it was a big deal for me and I was so happy. I feel blessed to have played in the U20s but I wish I could have played more games. So it (the suspension) was a big blow for us as young players,” he added.

Summerfield described the lifting of the suspension as huge for young players who aspire to play for the senior national team —something he also dreams of.

“The lifting of the suspension, for young players, is monumental. At my age, I aspire to play for the national team, that is what I’m aspiring to do and I’m going to work as hard I can,” declared Summerfield.

“I’m gonna ‘die for the badge’ and I’m gonna die for the Warriors because for me, there is nothing more I would like to do, than making it into the Warriors team and make everyone proud.

“Those are the aspirations that are pushing and that I’m striving towards them because that is what I want to.

“My biggest goal in life is not to play in the Premier League, the top leagues or the Uefa Champions League, my biggest dream is to play for the Warriors. I’m so passionate about the Warriors and I’m so passionate about the people in Zimbabwe.

“I want to use that emotion and passion I have to work hard and prove to everyone that football can unite a nation, whether you are of a different skin color, religion or culture. We are all for one thing —that is the love of the game,” added Summerfield.

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