Warriors caretaker coach Joey Antipas has turned to former Warriors captain Ovidy Karuru in a bid to overturn a 1-0 World Cup qualifier defeat to Somalia ahead of the crucial second leg tie set for the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Kick-off is 3pm.
Karuru was one of top performers for Zimbabwe during the disastrous Egypt Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals campaign in June.
The player was one of the 13 players, who represented the country in former coach Sunday Chidzambwa team at Afcon, who were initially overlooked by Antipas.
Speculation was rife that Karuru was one of the players that had been blacklisted by Zifa for allegedly sabotaging the team in Egypt.
Zifa said they had banned some players for instigating a player strike that rocked the Warriors camp in Egypt over allowances and bonuses.
Following Zimbabwe’s embarrassing defeat to Somalia in Djibouti last Thursday, Antipas has decided to add some attacking impetus to a side that struggled to create meaningful chances against the worst ranked team in Africa.
Thus, he sees Karuru as the person who can help create those chances and also help to unlock the Somalians, who will be expected to sit back tomorrow and preserve their slender advantage.
“We are still contemplating on making one or two changes and we will know about that tomorrow. Definitely, we need change in defence and change in attack,” Antipas said upon arrival from the Djibouti debacle on Saturday.
In the end, Antipas had to settle for just one change to the team that took part in the first leg, in the attack and retain the same defence personnel.
Karuru has made two appearances for his South African league side Amazulu this season, first against Polokwane City on August 10 and in the away win over Highlands Park two weeks later.
He flew into the country and joined the squad yesterday. Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed Karuru’s arrival.
The latest development will see Karuru and Antipas uniting after the pair worked together at Amazulu a couple of years back.
It was Antipas, who is credited for bringing Karuru’s career back on track by signing the Warriors star when he was still Amazulu coach, after the player’s failed stints in Belgium and at Kaizer Chiefs.
Karuru is likely going to replace either Terrence Dzvukamanja or one between defensive midfielder Thabani Kamusoko and Marshall Munetsi.
Currently staying at a Harare hotel, the Warriors had a couple of training sessions yesterday and are set to have their final training today ahead of the match tomorrow.
And in a bid to encourage the fans to come and support the team Zifa slashed the entry fee for the match by 50% from the initial price.
Reviewed fees are as follows:
Rest of the ground: 5$
Bay 15 to 18: $10