Big night for Zim trio

HARARE - Zimbabwean trio of Willard Katsande, Ovidy Karuru and Matthew Rusike could win the South African Absa Premiership title with Kaizer Chiefs tonight.

South Africa has been burning due to the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in recent weeks and the Zimbabwean trio will be on the spotlight tonight.

Despite the competitive nature of football, it is a sport that has been used in the past to unify warring nations.

Hopefully the presence of three Zimbabweans in the Chiefs side that might be crowned champions tonight will send a signal to the thugs behind the heinous violent acts.

There has a been a worldwide outcry since the violence broke out six weeks ago with the South African government announcing yesterday that soldiers have now been deployed on the streets to help keep peace.   

Chiefs currently lead the Super Diski standings with 60 points, 13 ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns with four games to go before the 2014/15 season ends.

A win for Chiefs this evening against ninth-placed Polokwane City will carry them to an unassailable 16 point lead over Sundowns.

Since moving from Ajax Cape Town in 2011, Katsande has been one of the standout performers for the Soweto giants and this season has been no exception.

The midfield enforcer has been a regular feature in Stuart Baxter’s side making 23 leagues appearances so far.

Katsande is already the frontrunner of many Mzansi sports writers and pundits favourite to win the coveted Super Diski awards for the Players’ Player of the Season and the Footballer of the Season.

Last season, the 29-year-old, who also won the league with Chiefs in the 2012-13 season, was beaten to both awards by Bidvest Wits captain Sibusiso Vilakazi.

The Mutare-born midfielder did not let that setback get the better of him and returned twith more vigour this season.

The former Gunners and Highway midfield hardman is however, keeping his feet on the ground and the major focus is getting three points tonight against Polokwane. 

“The mood in the camp is good, everyone is working hard and everybody really wants to give it a go against Polokwane City,” Katsande told South African media aead of tonight’s match at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

“It’s going to be tough. We played a 0-0 draw last time, but we know that they’re dangerous when they come to us because they have good combination play. They’re a threat, but we just need to stick to our coach’s plan.

“All I want is for all the fans to come to the stadium, support the team and not boo the players.”    

While Katsande has enjoyed a lot of game time, his two compatriots Karuru and Rusike have been on the fringes of Baxter’s match day squad.

After an initial difficult start to his life in Mzansi after moving from Belgium, Karuru has been slowly integrated into the team.

When he first arrived at Naturena, Karuru was underweight and was ordered by Baxter follow a laid down diet in order to bulk up.

This season, the former Masvingo United and Gunners winger has only made one league appearance as a substitute against Free State Stars back in December.

After shrugging off a persistent hamstring injury that has derailed his Chiefs career, Rusike has been a regular in the Phefeni Glamour Boys’ starting XI in recent weeks.

The former Zimbabwe youth international has so far made eight appearances for the Chiefs this season.

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