National team winger Ovidy Karuru is set to join the Young Warriors’ camp ahead of the Zone VI All-Africa Games final round football qualifier against South Africa.
The two neighbouring countries are set to clash in South Africa for the first leg next weekend while the reverse fixture will be in Harare two weeks later, with the winner qualifying for the finals in Maputo, Mozambique, in September.
Initially, the game had been set for Sunday next week, the same day Karuru was supposed to report back at his French base, but team manager Wellington Mpandare yesterday revealed that the match has been moved to Saturday, clearing the way for Karuru to play.
“I have been informed the game has been moved to Saturday so there is a big chance that he (Karuru) will be available for the match,” said Mpandare. “He was set to report for pre-season training at his club on the 26th, the same day we were supposed to play South Africa but now the game is on Saturday we are arranging that he play then connect straight to France immediately after the game.
“I have contacted his team so that they can give us permission. I have also contacted the player and he has shown interest in taking part. It becomes easy when the player is also willing to play,” added Mpandare.
However, there was no joy for the Young Warriors as Kaizer Chiefs has maintained their stance and refused to release hotshot Knowledge Musona despite the new developments on the fixture.
“That one is a closed chapter.”
Karuru’s status hit record levels after his starring role for the Warriors in their win against Mali in the Afcon qualifiers where his two assists were converted by Musona.
If granted permission by his club Us Boulogne, the 22-year-old Masvingo-born winger will join the already star-studded Young Warriors team which already boasts of the Ajax Cape Town duo of Khama Billiat and Tafadzwa Rusike who have since been given the green light by their team to play for Zimbabwe next week.
Billiat and Rusike trained with the rest of the squad at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday as preparations for the crucial encounter entered day two.
There was also good news for coach Friday Phiri after the arrival of chief marksman Simba Sithole at training.
Sithole missed the first-day training session on Tuesday as he was still ironing out his deal with South African mega-rich side Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Highlanders duo of goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and midfielder Misheck Mburayi and FC Platinum defender Lincoln Zvasiya were also part of the group thet trained yesterday after missing the opening session.
Joel Ngodzo, who lost his grandmother this week and Jomo Cosmos winger Mathew Rusike, were the only absentees from training yesterday. Rusike is said to be in England and is expected in the country tomorrow while Ngodzo will only be available on Monday.
The players will be released for their Premier Soccer League programme this weekend before regrouping on Sunday.