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Warriors face fair Qatar World Cup fixtures, says Karuru

by Staff reporter
06 Apr 2021 at 07:04hrs | Views
WARRIORS midfielder Ovidy Karuru reckons Zimbabwe's 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying fixture schedule is kind to them and thus believes the team stands a good chance of qualifying to the finals for the first time.

The Zdravko Logarusic coached side, which is in Group G together with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, will play its opening and closing matches of the campaign at home.

The Warriors' vice-captain said while all the matches would be crucial, a good start would be vital in the team's quest to progress to the third and final rounds of the quali-fiers.

"A good start is always important because it gives us a good foundation on which to build our campaign going forward," Karuru said.

"World Cup qualifiers are tough and only the best team will progress. That means we will need to win almost all the matches in the group to go through. Winning the first match will obviously give us confidence. I'm happy that we are going to start at home.

"There is also a possibility of these qualifiers going to the last round (of matches) so it will be good for us to play the decisive round at home."

Zimbabwe will begin its World Cup campaign at home against neighbours South Africa between June 5-8, before travelling to Ethiopia the following week. The qualifiers resume in September with back-to-back clashes against Ghana in the first week of that month.

The Warriors will then travel to South Africa between October 10 and 12 and wrap up their campaign with a home match against Ethiopia the following week.

The top team in the group will progress to the final qualifying round, where they join nine other group winners from the continent to play home and away over two legs. The five winners will represent Africa at the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.

"It's a tough group, but like I said, we just have to believe in ourselves and do our best. I know God is going to handle the rest. Everyone who will get a chance to represent the country is praying and hoping that we progress to the next round," Karuru added.

The Warriors have never qualified for the World Cup finals, but Karuru says it's now time for the country to make history.

"There is always a first time for everything," he said.

"There was a time where we were failing to qualify for Af-con finals, but we eventually did. In life, never say never. We will do our best and see what God has planned for us."

He added: "We just need to work as a team and put the country first and play as a unit. We need to support whoever the coach has chosen and together we will win."

The Black Leopards attacker is one of the senior players in the Warriors squad reaching the twilight of their careers. He knows that these qualifiers are probably his last attempt for a shot at qualifying for the World Cup finals. He, however, reckons that it's the Young Turks in the squad that hold the keys to the team's qualification.

"Football fans need to support the young ones because that is the only way that they can get confidence. For us the seniors, inasmuch as we try our level best, we know our days with the national team are numbered," Karuru said.

"We have big games coming up and some players will naturally have bad games, so it will be important not to criticise the younger players, but to sup-port them because they are the future.

"For people like myself, Knowledge Musona, Onismor Bhasera, Teenage Hadebe, Kuda Mahachi, Marvelous Nakamba, Tino Kadewere and other senior players, we can handle whatever is brought to us because we have been there."

Karuru is hopeful that by the time the qualifiers start, football fans would have been allowed back into stadiums.

"We obviously need them. Without them, some players won't fight harder than they should. Supporters always give us that extra push. As players, we always thrive when they (fans) are around."

Source - newsday

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