Warriors skipper, Ovidy Karuru has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Cosafa Cup semi-final against Lesotho after sustaining an ankle injury in the match against Botswana on Sunday.
BY HENRY MHARA IN POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA
Karuru was hospitalised after the injury and will not make it for tomorrow’s match even though there are slim hopes he could make it into the final on Saturday were Zimbabwe to qualify.
While the technical team said there is slim hope, it looks unlikely that Karuru, who sustained ligament damage, can recover in time to play on Saturday.
Although he did not give details, Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare confirmed the development.
Karuru was the star of the show when Zimbabwe won the last edition of the tournament.
After he had left the field, goalkeeper George Chigova, who took over the captain’s armband, led from the front, as he saved three penalties in a shoot-out to ensure Zimbabwe’s progression.
Zimbabwe will be targeting an improved performance when they take on Lesotho tomorrow.
Defender Alex Mudimu reckons the team will have to improve if they are to retain the trophy.
Evans Rusike scored the goal for the Sunday Chidzambga-coached side, in a match they wasted the numerous chances they created, with striker Abbas Amidu, the chief culprit.
He atoned for those misses though, showing great nerve to score the opening penalty in the shoot-out and set the tone for the team as Jameson Mukombwe and Khama Billiat went on to convert their kicks to give Zimbabwe passage to the semi-finals.
The Wales-based defender, Mudimu, making his debut in a competitive match for the Warriors, having participated in a four-team tournament in Zambia early this year, was relieved that the team managed to sneak through to the last four.
“I will take a lot of positives out of the match, but there are some negatives, especially from set pieces. We definitely need to be stronger. We conceded from a set piece and the same things happened when we played in Zambia (in a four-nations tournament), and it’s something that we need to sort out in terms of organisation and talking at the back,” he said.
The defender was also disappointed in the way Botswana equalised when a corner kick was headed home by Onkabetse Makgantai, probably the shortest men on the field.
“With his stature and height, he shouldn’t be winning that ball. We were favourite for the ball, so I feel we just need to strengthen in that department. But overall, we had a lot of positives to take from the game and I’m very happy to qualify to the semi-finals.”
The team is confident going into tomorrow’s match and hope they do not have to go the penalty shoot-out route.
“We are confident going into the next match, we have enough ability to win the game inside 90 minutes, as we should have done against Botswana because we had a lot of chances, which we should have converted. But I’m very confident we will win our semi-final match comfortably.”
Mudimu is pleased to be representing his country at this stage.
“I’m very happy, over the moon. I want to play more now for my country. I want to thank the supporters, who came in numbers. It was an amazing scene, and winning in front of them, so I hope they would come again for the semifinals and the final.