BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS attacker Ovidy Karuru, who will skipper the Cosafa Cup team, is targeting silverware at the regional tournament.
The team is expected to leave the country tomorrow for Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where the tournament wil be held.
Karuru is one of the few senior players, alongside goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who have been included in the squad largely made up of fringe players.
He was the captain when Zimbabwe last lifted the trophy in 2017, and said while the quality in the current squad could not be compared to that from four years ago which boasted stars such as Khama Billiat and George Chigova, there was so much potential.
“You cannot compare the two squads because the 2017 team had foreign-based and experienced stars, but I have to say I am impressed by the desire and willingness to work hard and learn from the current squad. If we can reach the final it would be an achievement,” Karuru said.
Zimbabwe were drawn to play against West African guest nation Senegal, Mozambique and 2015 Cosafa Cup winners Namibia in Group C.
They begin their campaign with a match against Mozambique on Thursday, before facing Namibia three days later. They will conclude their group matches against Senegal on Wednesday next week.
“It’s a tough group, but there is a lot of potential in this squad and I know we can go all the way. This is a chance for the players, most whom are playing locally to showcase their talent and probably get a contract outside the country. You can see what is happening with the local league where it is on and off, so its up to the players to get jobs elsewhere. The quality is there and the players just need to get some confidence which we will provide as senior players,” he said.
Only the top team in each of the three groups and the best placed runner-up will advance to the semifinals in what is a change in format for the tournament this year.
That means each side is guaranteed three games up to a maximum of five, which will provide good preparations for teams like Zimbabwe involved in the World Cup qualifiers in September.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušic said those who would impress him at the Cosafa tournament would be included in the main squad for the World Cup qualifiers and the Afcon finals in January next year.
The team is expected to leave without three of the stars called up in the 25-member squad.
Germany-based midfielder Jonah Fabisch was blocked from travelling to Zimbabwe by his team Hamburger SV, who feared that he could contract COVID-19. The 19-year-old was supposed to meet up with the rest of the squad in South Africa.
The midfielder is the son of the late Reinhard Fabisch and is yet to feature for the Warriors.
Other players, who have withdrawn from the squad, are Knox Mutizwa and Kevin Moyo.
Harare City defender Ben Musaka has been added to the squad.
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