Wigan Athletic ace in the frame for international duty

Wigan Athletic's Tendayi Darikwa has been named in the provisional Zimbabwe squad.
Tendayi DarikwaTendayi Darikwa
Tendayi Darikwa

He is in the frame to play in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia next month.

UK-based Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth) and Brendan Galloway (Luton Town) have also been included in the 38-player panel, which will be trimmed down in the build-up to the matches.

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Zimbabwe face Botswana on March 25 and Zambia four days later. Wigan Athletic play Ipswich Town (27th) during that time.

Darikwa, 29, admitted recently he was hoping to represent Zimbabwe on the biggest stage of all.

"The international stuff's always in the back of my mind, and it's always a massive buzz to play for my country," he said earlier this month.

"First and foremost I've got games to win here for Wigan, and I need to make sure I'm playing well for my club before I even think about anything else.

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"But I also know there's some big games coming up in March, where we can push on to quality for another major tournament, and I want to be part of that."

Bizarrely, Darikwa's last four appearances prior to joining Latics last month were all for Zimbabwe - including selection for the 2019 African Nations Cup.

His last outing in club colours was for Nottingham Forest back in March 2019, since when he was forced to miss 18 months with a serious knee injury.

Zifa had delayed announcing the squad while awaiting responses to requests for the release of players based in the UK a fortnight ago.