It's for the fans: Ovidy

HARARE - Zimbabwe star midfielder Ovidy Karuru has described Zimbabwe’s dead-rubber World Cup qualifier against Egypt on Sunday as a battle the Warriors need to conquer as a way of appeasing their long-suffering fans.  

Karuru has clawed his way back into the Warriors fold under hard-to-please Warriors coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels after falling out of favour with former coach Rahman Gumbo, a spate that saw him missing out on two 2013 African Nations Cup qualifiers against Angola.

The former Gunners star was only called back into the Warriors for the side’s World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Alexandria in March, which the Zimbabwe lost 2-1.

In that match Karuru, who plays for Belgian club OH Leuven, was introduced as a second half substitute but struggled with his game. 

He will, however, have a chance to redeem himself as well as prove right the countless voices who called for Pagels to restore him to the squad, when the Warriors line up against the Pharaohs of at the National Sports Stadium.

With just a single point in Group G after falling to Guinea then stuttering to a 0-0 draw against Mozambique before falling to Egypt 2-1, the Brazil 2014 qualification dream is now out of the Warriors’ reach.

Egypt look set to progress to the next round of eliminations as they lead the group with nine points, followed by Guinea with four. Mozambique have two points while Zimbabwe are bottom with just a point.

“I think the boys are ready for the battle,” Karuru told the Daily News after yesterday’s training session at the match venue.

“We want to win the game and nothing less, that’s what we are looking forward to. Everyone is putting 100 percent at training for a chance to start in the first eleven; we all know how important this game is to Zimbabwe.”

In yesterday’s morning training session the former Gunners player lined up alongside captain Denver Mukamba in central midfield. 

The two showed a good understanding of Pagels’ philosophy of quick ball distribution and an attacking brand of football. 

And if Karuru can continue that tempo in the build-up to the Egypt tie, it is likely the German mentor will give him starting berth, something that will delight the 24-year-old.

He said:  “For me it’s kind of difficult coming on as substitute because I read the game better when I start.”

The Masvingo-born star also wants to use the Egypt tie as a platform to regain momentum following a lukewarm season for his Belgium club.

“I have been starting some games and others I have been used as a second half substitute.  But it was my first season at the team so the coach had his own first eleven,” Karuru said.

“So it was difficult for me to break through but hopefully next season I will be able to get regain my form. All I can say is I’m not impressed with my last season because I didn’t start in more than half the games.”

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