FORMER Checheche-based Zineku Stars player, Perfect Chikwende, who is nursing the heartache of being dropped from the Warriors’ Cosafa Cup finals squad on the last minute due to medical reasons, says the pain of missing out on the regional football show-piece is unbearable.
The Warriors left for the Cosafa Cup in SA on Monday and opened their account with a nil-all draw against Mozambique on Wednesday.
Triangle striker, Dellick Murimba, together with Harare City midfielder, Ben Musaka were drafted into the final 20-men squad after the last minute withdrawal of Evans Rusike, Chikwende and Godknows Murwira.
Be that as it may, very few might have known the talented top man a few years ago when he was honing his football skills in the sun baked soils of the Lowveld in Checheche where he turned out for Wilson Tarugarira Kujokochera-bankrolled Division Two team, Zineku Stars.
Back then, not so many knew the budding free scoring striker when he joined Birchenough Bridge-based police outfit, Black Eagles where he contributed into turning their strike-force into one of the most lethal in the Eastern Region Division One League.
It only took a transfer to Bulawayo-based Black Boots outfit that Chikwende finally made his big break into Premiership football after being snapped by Bulawayo Chiefs then FC Platinum and now Simba FC in Tanzania.
The rest is history!
The player’s career suffered a major setback this week when he was dropped from the Warriors travelling party for the Cosafa Cup finals in South Africa.
“This is a painful experience. I had never anticipated for this at any given point especially since I joined national team camp. I had set my goals and also I had managed to gel with the team.
“I cannot really describe the pain, but I can assure you it is not easy to get over this.
“I wanted to represent my country as well as get exposure for my career through the competition,” said the Gweru-born talented footie star.
Chikwende was spotted by Simba FC in January during their second-round of the CAF Champions League two-legged fixture with the striker proving thorny in Simba FC’s defence and managed to score the only goal of the first meeting staged in Harare which saw Platinum FC beating Simba FC 1-0 to take a slim advantage heading into the return leg.
He was snapped by Simba FC thereafter and signed a two-year deal, but has seen very little in terms of game time in Tanzania.
A feud between Bulawayo Chiefs and FC Platinum once threatened to hamper the future of the highly-rated attacking midfielder after joining the Tanzanian giants.
At a time when his move to the Tanzanian champions was supposed to make headlines for the good reasons, the development brought tension and misery as the two parties involved, FC Platinum and Bulawayo Chiefs, were fighting over the share of proceeds from the sale of the player.
He said Warriors’ victory in the Cosafa Cup will atone for his absence.
“I really wish them well. I will be happy to see them win that cup for the seventh time.
“This is what I wanted for my country and it is unfortunate that I can no longer contribute on the field of play, but only support the team,” he said.
Zimbabwe are in the same group with Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi and tournament guests, Senegal.