Mudimu set for Europa League
ZIMBABWE international Alec Mudimu, whose first flirtation with the Warriors ended with the team scripting a success story at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa, is set to plunge into the UEFA Europa League battles on Thursday with his Welsh side CEFN Druids.
Mudimu was the only British Brigade who featured for the Warriors during the COSAFA Cup and charmed many with his solid contribution for the team.
He was used as a centre-back even though he plays as a midfielder for his club.
CAFN Druids have a preliminary round qualifier against FK Trakai of Lithuania with the first leg set for Thursday at Park Hall in Wales.
Mudimu has been preparing for the battle with his teammates but appears to be still walking with a spring in his step after his heroics for the Warriors.
“A very great and proud moment for myself and my family in being selected to represent my country at an international level. What a feeling,’’ he tweeted.
“Thank you for those who have taken time to help and support. It’s being amazing.’’
The Welsh side will be back in European competitions for the first time in six years.
Their opponents FK Trakai qualified for the UEFA Europa League by finishing third in an eight-team league last season.
Trakai are under new management, having appointed 46-year-old Kibu Vicuña to replace Russian manager Oleg Vasilenko who had been in charge for seventeen months.
“Since qualifying for the UEFA Europa League in 2015/2016, the Lithuanian side have had a mixed bag of results,’’ an analysis of the Lithuanian team reveals.
“They beat Faroese side HB Tórshavn 7-1 on aggregate in their European debut, before being humbled by Cypriot side Apollon Limassol 4-0 on aggregate in the next round.
“2016/2017 was a season to forget for them though, they exited in the First Qualifying Ground to Nõmme Kalju of Estonia. They had initially won the home leg 2-1, before losing 4-1 in Estonia.
“Last season saw the club have their best performance, having reached Round Three of Qualifying, with some links to British and Welsh football.
“They beat Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone, beating them both home and away. They then progressed, as they beat Swedish side IFK Norrköping on penalties, having tied up at 3-3 on aggregate.’’
Interestingly, the average attendance figures for FK Trakai are just 273 fans while CEFN Druids do not fare that much better as they average 283 fans at their games.
Barry Town, who average 530 fans, have the highest average attendance in the Welsh Premier League.
A number of Zimbabweans will be playing in the UEFA inter-club competitions this season.
Midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is set for the UEFA Champions League with Club Brugge of Belgium after he helped the team win the Belgian championship. Nakamba missed the COSAFA Cup because of injury.
Warriors captain Knowledge Musona is also set to feature in the Europa League after switching bases in Belgium and joining Anderlecht.
Striker Tino Kadewere, who sparkled as the Warriors beat Zambia in the COSAFA Cup final with a double strike, is set to play in the same competition with Swedish side Djurgardens.