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Arubi eyes Warriors comeback

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BY HENRY MHARA

VETERAN goalkeeper Washington Arubi is keeping his fingers crossed to be included in the Warriors squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić will announce his team next week.

The former Dynamos goalie made a return to the national team when he was included in the squad that participated at the Cosafa Cup tournament in South Africa last month.

While the team, composed of fringe players, was booted out in the group stages of the tournament, Arubi put up a stellar performance to convince Logarušić that he is still good to be the senior team’s first choice goalie.

A reliable source said other players who featured at the Cosafa tourney like Ovidy Karuru and Jimmy Dzingai are in the coach’s plans.

The ban of local league games is likely to cost Warriors hopefuls Shadreck Nyahwa, Carlos Mavhurume and Tatenda Tavengwa, as Loga is said to be against calling up local players because they have been inactive for too long.

Ageless Arubi will fight for a place between the sticks with Spain-based Martin Mapisa and Talbert Shumba, who has been linked with a move to South Africa’s Free State Stars.

The 2011 Soccer Star of the Year, who now plays for South African league side Marumo Gallants, would be making his return to the Warriors fold for a competitive assignment since 2015.

He had risen to become the first choice goalie for the senior national team but lost his place after a horror Africa Cup of Nations qualifier show against Guinea at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on September 8, 2015.

That position has since been taken over by Shumba.

Arubi’s inclusion is one of the few changes that Logarušić is expected to make for the qualifiers against South Africa at home on September 3 from the squad that faced Algeria in an Afcon qualifier in November last year.

The back-to-back clashes against the African champions was the only time that the coach managed to assemble his strongest possible squad.

The other notable addition in the Warriors squad will be leftback Brendon Galloway, strikers Knox Mutizwa and Admiral Muskwe, and defender Devine Lunga.

The source also said Prince Dube, currently injured, has also been invited as he is expected to have fully recovered in time for the matches.

Invitation letters have already been sent to all the players that Loga wants.

He is hoping that he will get all his Europe-based stars for the two must win assignments.

Most of the Euro-based stars including the team’s poster boy Tino Kadewere, who plays for Lyon in France, failed to travel for the Warriors’ Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia earlier this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Many European countries have since relaxed their travel restrictions and it is expected that clubs will release their players to fulfil international obligations.

Fifa are yet to announce their position on travel restrictions for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

After the Bafana Bafana clash set for the National Sports Stadium, the Warriors will face Ethiopia in Addis Ababa three days later.

The group also has Ghana, who Zimbabwe will play in back-to-back matches in September. The group winner will qualify to the final round of the World Cup qualifiers set for November.

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