Senior Sports Reporter
JUST a few days after returning from Zimbabwe national team duty, Admiral Muskwe was thrown into the starting line-up as Luton Town FC suffered defeat at the hands of Sheffield United in the English Championship football on Saturday.
Jordan Zemura, who plays for title-chasing AFC Bournemouth, also returned to his club but could not make it on time to be included in the match day squad when the Cherries hosted Hull City at Vitality Stadium.
The duo was part of the Zimbabwe squad that did duty at the AFCON tournament in Cameroon. However, they had to return to their clubs early as the Warriors were knocked out in the group stage.
The Warriors finished last in Group B, which was won by Senegal, followed by Guinea and Malawi, who all progressed to the last 16. The two Zimbabwe internationals met with further disappointments after their English Championship clubs suffered losses at the weekend, which had a negative impact on their respective campaigns.
Zemura’s AFC Bournemouth suffered the biggest blow in their quest to wrestle for the Championship with the 0-1 home defeat to Hull City.
Bournemouth are currently in second place but the gap between them and log leaders Fulham has now extended to eight points.
The Cherries, who had a bright start to the Championship, have stumbled in two successive games following the defeats to Hull City on Saturday and Muskwe’s Luton Town the previous week.
The Championship is now in the second half and the Cherries would need to up their game in the remaining fixtures to push for direct promotion into the English Premiership next season.
Zemura could be the next Zimbabwean player to play in the English Premier League next season but his club face serious competition from Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers in a tight top four battle.
Muskwe’s Luton Town FC got their chances of breaking into the top 10 dashed with the 0-2 defeat to Sheffield United on Saturday. They swapped places with their opponents who now sit in 11th place while they dropped to 13th.
Muskwe flew straight into club duty from Cameroon, where he was an unused substitute in the first game against Senegal. He played the final 12 minutes of the 2-1 loss against Malawi and then made his first start at AFCON against Guinea. He played 75 minutes in the last match which Zimbabwe won 2-1 over the West Africans before returning to his club.
Luton manager, Nathan Jones, who has been struggling with a huge fixture backlog could not wait to have the Zimbabwean back.
The 23-year-old played 63 minutes as the Hatters’ five-match unbeaten run came to an end at Bramall Lane. Luton Town finished the game with 10 men.
They were already trailing to two goals inside three minutes, from Rhian Brewster and Jack Robinson, when central defender Reece Burke was sent off for pulling Brewster back when he was in on goal with half an hour still to play.