BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
BOURNEMOUTH manager Scott Parker reserved special praise for Zimbabwe international Jordan Zemura in the aftermath of the English Championship side’s two-all draw against West Bromwich Albion in their opening match of the season at the Vitality Stadium on Friday night.
Zemura made his full league debut for the promotion chasing Cherries after first choice left back Jack Stacey failed to return to full fitness on time following his injury in last weekend’s EFL Cup encounter against MK Dons.
And the 21 year-old Warriors rising star grabbed the opportunity with an assured performance as he played the entire 90 minutes for the club in a league encounter.
Not only did Zemura, impress in defence but also showed his attacking qualities after playing a role in Bournemouth’s second goal, which was scored by Philip Billing in the second half.
His performance did not go unnoticed with Parker singing his praises after the match.
“I thought he (Zemura) done very well,” said Parker in his post-match reaction.
“I thought he relished that challenge. I thought he was very good going forward; he assisted or certainly had an impact in the goal, the second goal. I thought he defended very well as well to be fair, not the tallest and when the ball is coming in and around the box, you need to have a desire and endeavour about you and he showed that definitely. I was pleased with him.”
Bournemouth new signing Emiliano Marcondes gave his new team a 12th-minute lead, driving home a low cross from Jaidon Anthony.
West Brom centre-back Dara O’Shea replied after 33 minutes, meeting Conor Townsend’s hanging cross with a powerful downward header.
Billing restored the Cherries’ lead seven minutes into the second half, but West Brom levelled for a second time as Callum Robinson finished off a crisp attack by guiding the ball home after 67 minutes.
Although Bournemouth were unable to hold on to all three points, it was a memorable outing for Zemura, who is looking to establish himself as a regular in the first team this season.
After the match Zemura spoke to afcbTV of his delight at making his full league debut for the Cherries, and how he would always cherish the atmosphere and the occasion at Vitality Stadium.
“I can’t really describe the emotions I’m going through right now,” he said.
“It was a very good feeling and atmosphere with the crowd. It was like another debut for me to be fair, having the home fans back here and even the away fans; it was just proper first game of the season. In a couple of years I’ll look back and think that I really enjoyed that.”
The occasion was made more special for Zemura by the presence of his family members, who were part of the home fans at the Vitality Stadium.
“I had a brief chat with them before the match. My little brothers will be ecstatic; I just know they are going to jump all over me. I can’t wait to see them and it will be really nice,” he said.
Zemura signed a fresh contract at the Cherries in December, while enjoying a breakthrough campaign at Vitality Stadium last season.
He had spent time in the youth ranks at Queens Park Rangers and Charlton before joining Bournemouth at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, following a successful trial spell.
Zemura has also gone on to represent Zimbabwe at international level after making his Warriors debut against Algeria in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.