Peterborough’s Gabriel Zakuani on being run over on the pitch!
OVER the past three weeks Gabriel Zakuani has contemplated boycotting a match, won a medal and been run over by a medical buggy!
But now he’s back in Blighty the Peterborough defender is delighted to be returning to one of the most exciting League One promotion races in recent memory.
The 28-year-old helped his native Democratic Republic of Congo win the third/fourth place play-off in the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month – their best result since 1998. However, Zakuani
(right) had been involved in discussions with team-mates about not playing in that match due to safety concerns after spectators rioted during hosts Equatorial Guinea’s semifinal defeat to Ghana.
Such danger did not materialise – even with Guinea beaten again – and the only time Zakuani was hurt occurred when a medical truck, entering the pitch to aid him during a group game with rivals Congo, hit him as he sat on a stretcher.
“I was down injured. I saw him coming at some speed out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t believe it when he actually hit me,” recalls Zakuani.
“I just said to him ‘are you serious?’. The game was still 0-0 and I did give him an evil stare, but once I got back to the hotel afterwards I did have a little laugh to myself about it. I can see the funny side.”
So important is Zakuani to Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough, he was named on the bench for the home defeat to Gillingham on the same day he jetted home from Africa.
And, while being completely bowled over by his Africa Cup of Nations experience, he admits it would be preferable not to play the tournament mid-season.
“It was an important stage of the season, so it doesn’t help being away,” he said. “But it’s one of those things. I can’t turn down playing for my country, it’s just a shame it can’t be at the end of the season.
“I got back on a Tuesday and was on the bench that night. I was exhausted.
“But the gaffer is good to me, he gives me time off here and there if I need it.
“But I feel good, I had a good tournament. I feel very confident and the aim now is to help Posh go up.”
OUCH! Gabriel Zakuani is hit by the medical buggy and, inset, his tweet afterwards