Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson heaped praise on Warriors defender Tendayi Darikwa after the right back penned a two-year deal following his loan spell at the club in the second half of last season.
Darikwa joined Latics in January following his departure from Nottingham Forest, and was a mainstay in the second half of the campaign.
After making his debut in the 3-3 draw at Rochdale in January, the Zimbabwe international went on to make a further 25 league appearances as Latics won their fight against relegation.
And Richardson — who had previously worked with Darikwa at Chesterfield — was determined to retain his services as part of the rebuild under Phoenix 2021 Limited.
“I think he is an excellent signing,” said the gaffer. “I have obviously worked with Tendayi over a few periods and he brings a real calmness to the team.
“There are two characters to a footballer — one on the pitch and one in the changing rooms — and in my opinion, Tendayi is excellent in both.
“He sets standards in training for himself and others, and then on the pitch, the quality speaks for itself.”
The 29-year-old admitted his decision to stay was largely down to Richardson’s persuasive powers.
“I’m delighted to be back here at the football club,” Darikwa said. “I really enjoyed my time during the second half of last season when I joined. We have been speaking for a few weeks now, and I can’t wait to get going again.
“I’m really grateful to the manager for bringing me in, and giving me the opportunity to play football matches. Hopefully, I can continue that next season and we can be successful together.
“Leam was probably the main reason (to re-sign). As soon as he signed his deal last season, he outlined his plans for this year and it was something I wanted to be part of. I want to take this football club back to where it should be.”
Darikwa is expected to be part of the Warriors squad that will play World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia in September.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić might have been pleased to see Darikwa sign for a club where he will get regular action. It has been a good off season for the Warriors so far with Knowledge Musona signing for Al Tai in Saudi Arabia while defender Teenage Hadebe moving to the United States topflight league.
Yesterday, Fabrizio Romano tweeted that Arsenal had offered Reiss Nelson a new contract, but the forward who is being courted by Zimbabwe is yet to make up his mind on staying on at the Gunners.
Arsenal have offered Reiss Nelson a new contract until 2024 to send him on a loan immediately. Nelson has not accepted yet he is looking for other options.
An outgoing SuperSport United striker is set to remain in Gauteng in his next move with indications that he is closing in on a deal with a new club.
The Siya crew reported that striker Evans Rusike would not be staying with SuperSport United for next season.
The 31-year-old Zimbabwean player’s deal came to an end on Wednesday, and while Matsatsantsa had an option of two more years, the Tshwane outfit decided against exercising the option.
As reported by the Siya crew, Rusike has been in talks with potential suitors, and after being linked with a return to Maritzburg United, newly-promoted Sekhukhune United came knocking for his services.
As confirmed by sources in the know, a move to Babina Noko looks more likely for the forward for the team’s first top-flight season, with indications that a deal has been agreed to in principle between the parties. — Staff Writer/Online.