Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SCORER of the goal that earned Warriors an Afcon finals slot when they beat Botswana 1-0 in the qualifiers, Perfect Chikwende has set his sights on another dance with the national team after missing out on the trip to Cameroon.
Chikwende made a perfect Warriors’ debut on March 25, 2021, when he scored the solitary goal for Zimbabwe in Francistown to secure a ticket to Cameroon with a game to spare.
Chikwende was playing for Tanzanian giants Simba SC, who had spotted him while playing for FC Platinum in the Caf Champions League.
The 29-year-old’s move to Simba was drama-filled as his previous club Bulawayo Chiefs felt they deserved a stake from FC Platinum as the player had been on loan at the Zvishavane side.
Chiefs lost their claim, but when Chikwende hit turbulence at Simba, the East Africans shipped him out.
Chikwende trained with FC Platinum for two months, and as the champions took long to tie down the player, Chiefs made a move and signed their former forward.
On Thursday, Chiefs unveiled Chikwende, who started training with the rest of the team on Wednesday.
“Perfect return!” screamed Chiefs’ teasers on their social media platforms.
Chikwende, signed for Chiefs alongside Chicken Inn forward Obriel Chirinda and veteran striker Obidiah Tarumbwa, and he is elated to be back with the Ninjas.
“Reconnecting with your old mates is good.
So, yes, it’s a great feeling being at Chiefs.
This is where my professional journey started.
So, when I was called back, I didn’t think twice,” said Chikwende.
He believes that despite Chiefs flexing its muscles to sign experienced players, the team won’t have it easy and has to fight for honours.
“Every team is in there to fight for silverware.
It’s a competition so I am sure they have made enough preparation in terms of players on their books.
“As a player, I’ve developed a lot since leaving Chiefs.
Participation in the Champions League with FC Platinum, winning the league with FC Platinum and scoring goals for them was amazing.
I learnt a new culture and a new type of play under different coaches, which has helped me to develop as a player.
“Now I’m back home; I believe everything is possible and it’s all about working hard and getting game time that can improve a player.
I wish to be back in the national team fold, but to do so I have to work hard and be a consistent performer at the club,” said Chikwende.
Chikwende is not bitter about losing out on the Warriors’ trip to Cameroon where they bowed out in the group stage.
“I played my part and those selected were the best at the time seeing that in November and December I wasn’t playing competitively.
Now my focus is on getting my confidence back.
Being among big names in football affected my confidence at times, but later I learnt that being with them meant that I was equally good.
After that, I grew in confidence and got involved in difficult games.
Now I want to increase my caps and leave a lasting legacy at Chiefs,” he said.
While Chiefs were unveiling Chikwende, Highlanders were celebrating the capture of striker Stanley Ngala, who joins the club from FC Platinum.
Ngala is a former Chiefs’ striker.
Bosso also unveiled Young Warriors’ goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi, who signed a five-year contract in December.