By Collin Matiza
For Sam Zemura, this was the moment he had been waiting for all his life — his son, Jordan, making his debut for the Warriors in an AFCON qualifier.
Against the African champions, Algeria, of all teams, in tough back-to-back matches.
Jordan, who turned 21 while on national duty last Saturday, featured 115 minutes of the two matches.
First, he played 70 minutes in Algiers before putting in another 45 minutes in Harare.
Algeria started the game strongly, at the National Sports Stadium, with two goals inside four minutes, towards the end of the first-half.
Andy Delort’s bullet header gave them the lead, before a skilful finish from their talisman Riyad Mahrez appeared to put them on course for a comprehensive win.
The Warriors pulled a goal back, two minutes before the break, as captain Knowledge Musona curled in a free-kick from the edge of the area, beating goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi.
It was Musona who almost, seconds before the whistle, found the equaliser, with Jordan’s cross finding him in acres of space on the blind side.
The Belgium-based forward, though, couldn’t divert it on target.
However, with Zimbabwe pushing, a deserved equaliser eventually came, as substitute Prince Dube netted in the 82nd minute, with his first touch of the game.
The draw on Monday came after Zimbabwe lost the away fixture 1-3 last Thursday, with Jordan making his debut.
Coach Zdravko Logarusic’s side still remain in a strong position to qualify for the AFCON finals, which have been pushed back to 2022.
They sit in second place in Group H, with five points, from four games.
On Monday, Jordan was replaced by Kuda Mahachi at half-time.
But, by that time, the young defender, who plays for English Championship side Bournemouth, had won the hearts of many Warriors fans with his steady performances.
It also made his father, Sam, who was watching the match thousands of miles away at his base in Kent, South East England, a very proud man.
Sam was also glued to his television set when the Warriors first played the Desert Foxes away in Algiers on November 12.
And, speaking exclusively to The Herald yesterday, Sam said the best was yet to come from his son, whom he feels will be an integral part of the Warriors in the future.
He also revealed he shed some tears of joy, after watching him don the famous golden strip of his beloved Warriors for the first time, against Algeria. Sam believes his son was good, especially in the first match against the Desert Foxes, last week.
“As a family, we felt elated and proud,’’ he said. ‘’It’s been a long and costly journey of pain and happiness for us travelling with him from the age of five to all these games.
“He chose to represent Zimbabwe and that was big for us as a family.
“When he first stepped on the pitch in Algeria, he was very calm and composed like he had been playing at that stage his whole life, and that impressed us.
“He has always been humble, especially when it comes to the game, and being a team player, and learning the dynamics with other players in such a short time, was very impressive.
“His motto has always been: “With just hard work and dedication, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.”
“I think, this past week, has just been an exciting time for Jordan in his career.”
He said Jordan will always be available for selection for Zimbabwe as his dream is to feature for the Warriors at the World Cup finals.
Jordan, who was born in London, joined the Queens Park Rangers’ academy at the age of six before moving to Charlton Athletic, where he spent seven years in their youth set-up.
He was signed by Bournemouth following a successful trial period in 2018.
Jordan made his debut for Bournemouth on September 15, 2020, in an EFL Cup tie against Crystal Palace, at the Vitality Stadium, which Bournemouth won 11–10 on penalties after a 0–0 draw. The wingback scored his penalty in the shootout.
Sam, was born in Murewa while his mother, Sharon, was born in Chigondo, Wedza, here in Zimbabwe.
Sam is related to the late Reuben Zemura, a prominent businessman and politician, who owned a number of businesses in Bulawayo, and was one of the main sponsors of former Premiership side Zimbabwe Saints.
Reuben Zemura died on August 3, 1993.
“He (Reuben Zemura) is my uncle. My father and him are blood brothers. I once lived with him in Bulawayo where he owned a number of businesses, including Shirichena Nightclub in town and Mambo Butchery in Mpopoma,’’ Sam said.
“During his era as one of the main sponsors of Zimbabwe Saints Football Club, I used to walk in front of the team when they used to play Highlanders at Barbourfields when I was 4 or 5 years old.
“This was when Zimbabwe Saints had gifted players such as Gibson Homela and Ebson “Sugar” Muguyo.’’ The Herald.