Zimbabwe: Clubless Warriors Trio Still Looking for a Home

By Eddie Chikamhi
THREE Zimbabwe internationals, including Warriors vice-captain Ovidy Karuru, are still guessing where they will be playing professional football this coming season.

The 32-year-old midfielder was one of the players shipped out by South African side Black Leopards, following the team’s relegation, to the GladAfrica Championship.

There is also a cloud of uncertainty over Evans Rusike, who is believed to have found a new home at South African Premiership newboys Sekhukune United, and defender Alec Mudimu.

Mudimu terminated his marriage with Turkish lower division side Ankaraspor, after spending only six months, at the club.

With the 2022 World Cup qualifiers coming up, in less than a month, Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, would have preferred to see all his players in action ahead of matches against South Africa and Ethiopia.

Midfielder Perfect Chikwende is also facing an uncertain future at Simba SC.

He scored the goal that sealed Zimbabwe’s AFCON 2021 qualification, in the 1-0 win over Botswana, and could be offloaded by the Tanzanian champions.

Karuru has had a rough time, in the last two years, as he had to move to three teams in South Africa.

He was offloaded by AmaZulu in 2019, Stellenbosch in 2020 before a six-month flirtation with Black Leopards.

After making 25 appearances, and scoring seven goals for Black Leopards in all competitions, between December last year and June 2021, the 32-year-old found himself jobless again. Karuru, who captained the Warriors at the recent COSAFA Cup in South Africa, is still under the radar of the Warriors technical team ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Rusike, was supposed to be part of the squad, for the regional tournament, but he pulled out because of injury.

The 31-year old is believed to have signed with Sekhukune United but the club, who have been on a shopping spree, are yet to make an official announcement.

Sekhukune are home to Zimbabwe international goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.

The Limpopo side unveiled three Zimbabweans, who include Talent Chawapihwa, Blessing Sarupinda and Willard Katsande.

A move back to Maritzburg United has also been suggested for Rusike, who played his best football at the KwaZulu-Natal club.

He, however, suffered a loss of form, during his injury-infested stay at SuperSport.

The forward failed to find the back of the net in 21 appearances with the Tshwane outfit last season.

He has also been linked with a move to Amazulu, who will participate in the CAF Champions League, this season.

England-based Marvelous Nakamba has reportedly attracted interest from several clubs, this summer with Watford, being the latest.

The UK Telegraph reported Watford, who open their new Premiership season against Aston Villa at their Vicarage Road home ground today, are monitoring the midfielder.

The report added Villa would look to make a profit on the £11m they paid for the Zimbabwe international, when they brought him from Belgian side, Club Brugge, two years ago.

Everton and Crystal Palace are the other teams also stalking the midfielder.

However, indications are Nakamba is expected to play a bigger role at Villa this season.

In 13 Premier League games for Villa last season, Nakamba averaged 1.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match.

He made 21.9 passes per game on average and recorded a completion rate of 84.2 percent.

The Villa fans have made it clear they want him retained this season.

Birmingham Mail correspondent, Ashley Preece, penned a glowing tribute for Nakamba when the side wrapped up their pre-season friendlies, with a 3-1 win over Italian Serie-B side, Salernitana, last Sunday.

“Another confident display here with Nakamba probably my pick for player of what’s been a disruptive pre-season.

“The Zimbabwean took up some key positions to stop the Italian side from breaking as Villa pushed bodies forward.

“Again, he mopped up well while he played a quality vertical pass into (Danny) Ings’ feet to spring a Villa attack.

“Nakamba’s nailed-on to start at Watford on Saturday. He’s been impressive this summer,” stated Preece.

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