Plymouth Argyle defender Brendan Galloway is returning to his country of birth for the first time in nearly 20 years after being called up to the Zimbabwe squad for their opening two 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Galloway was born in Harare but moved to England with his family at the age of six, and went on to represent his adopted country at all age groups up to and including under-21.
Now he has transferred his international allegiance to Zimbabwe and the 25-year-old is preparing for a return to Africa.
Zimbabwe are in Group F of the second round of World Cup qualifiers in Africa and will host South Africa at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Friday, September 3.
The Warriors, whose squad is also set to include former Argyle player-of-the-year Onismor Bhasera, will then be away to Ethiopia in Bahir Dar on Tuesday, September 7.
Galloway said: “It’s exciting times. It’s the first time back in Zimbabwe for 20 years. I’m looking forward to it, meeting up with the squad, and two tough games.
“I will go and play over there and then come back and get ready to continue the season (with Argyle) after that.
“It’s South Africa at home and Ethiopia away so two tough games to start the World Cup qualifiers but it’s great to represent my country.
“It’s going to be an unbelievable feeling for me and my family. So focus on the next two games (for Argyle) and then fly out and focus on the national team.”
Galloway played for England at under-17, 18 and 19 level before making three appearances for the under-21s but is grateful to now get the chance to play for Zimbabwe.
He said: “That’s my country of my birth, all my family are very proud Zimbabweans. It’s a great opportunity and one that I’m very thankful for as well.
“Hopefully, we can win our games and qualify for the World Cup. That’s the aim, and it’s the start of something great.”
Galloway knows ‘very few’ people within the Zimbabwean international set-up but is looking forward to meeting up with them all.
He said: “It will be getting to know a lot of people, gelling with a lot of the players, but I’m excited to meet people and be in a different environment. Hopefully it all goes well and hopefully we get two wins.
“I have heard the game against South Africa is a bit of a derby so I think that’s going to be a great match. We have got a big football following over there so it’s exciting times.”
Bhasera played for Argyle from 2010 until 2013 and was player-of-the-year for the 2012/13 League Two campaign, when the club narrowly avoided relegation out of the EFL.
Now aged 35, Bhasera is playing for SuperSport United in the South African Premier Division and started their 2021/22 season-opening 0-0 draw with Cape Town City at the weekend.
Galloway said: “Hopefully we can talk about Argyle and what a great football club it is. He will tell me stories of his day and I will tell him about some stories about now.”
Argyle’s scheduled League One game away to Portsmouth on Monday, September 6 – which was to have been televised live by Sky – has been postponed after they had three players called up for international duty.
The other two are striker Luke Jephcott (Wales under-21s) and midfielder Panutche Camara (Guinea-Bissau).
Source: Plymouth Live