Jordan Zemura is out in Cameroon with Zimbabwe at the African Cup of Nations and Cherries boss, Scott Parker believes it is a "big" opportunity for the young defender.
Bournemouth left-back Jordan Zemura is currently competing at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for Zimbabwe and will not be available for this weekend’s Championship trip to Luton.
Scott Parker’s Cherries side will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Championship to four points on Saturday lunchtime but will have to do so without one of this season’s stand out performers.
The 22-year-old has made 18 league appearances, scoring on three occasions and has formed a brilliant partnership with Jaidon Anthony down the Cherries’ left flank.
Having joined from Charlton Athletic’s youth set up in 2019, the defender has gone from strength to strength since joining the Dorset club, which has culminated in being selected for his nation’s AFCON squad.
Scott Parker has praised the left-back, saying he has “done incredibly well” in what is Zemura’s breakout season, cementing his place as a first team player under the former England midfielder’s stewardship.
When asked about what the experience of competing at a major international tournament would be like for the young defender, Parker said: “It’s big for Jordan. He is a young player who has only really broken through this season and is still very inexperienced, still learning the ropes, still trying to find out a career for himself as well - I think that is fair to say.
“He has done incredibly well for us - he is still very young in his year’s and any experience he can get is invaluable."
Zemura was not in the squad that was narrowly defeated by Senegal on Monday after being delayed with meeting up with his teammates due to COVID protocols, but is now available for The Warriors, who face Malawi later today (Friday 14 January) and will remain with the squad for at least one more game against Guinea on Tuesday.
Parker is hopeful Zemura will come back in good shape and be ready to fight to regain his place in the Cherries back line.
“He has gone away, he has at least another two games and see where it gets to,” added the head coach.
“These experiences for him hopefully will be good and hopefully he comes back fit and well and can get back into the team depending on how others go and push on from there.”
When asked about how the club will monitor the defender’s progress whilst in Cameroon, Parker revealed: “We watch games if we can depending on when the games are on.
“My staff will always be in close contact with Jordan whether that is medical or physical staff making sure he is alright when he plays or if he doesn't play where we are.
"[The club will] probably be speaking to Zimbabwe as well to see exactly where the levels are and what will be coming back to us and of course from myself I will drop Jordan a text just to see how he is.”
Zemura will likely return for the away trip to Barnsley, however, should Zimbabwe progress into the knockout stages he could also miss the fourth round FA Cup tie against Boreham Wood - depending how far the Warriors go in the tournament.