Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international midfielder Ovidy Karuru says the Warriors have nothing to fear at the 2019 AFCON finals.
Karuru, who turned 30 early this year, is hoping to make his debut at the big stage this year. “We don’t have to look at the names of our opponents,’’ he said.
“If we go there with a strong mentality and a strong character, I am sure we can beat any team there.
“When we were playing the qualifiers, many people said we would not beat DRC but we defeated them in their backyard.
“So, it’s all about the mentality of the players.
“We want to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before.
‘’The team hasn’t made it past the group stage but we are determined to make it through to the next round.
“That’s our main aim, to make history. That’s the mentality we have as a team. We would want to be the first group of players to qualify to the next round. I am sure if you believe it will happen.
“We can’t continue failing.’’
He said the Warriors have been writing their beautiful story for some time now in the past few years.
“We need respect and recognition out there. We also have to do it for the future players, we want them to be able to play in the big leagues in Europe since those clubs only fish from the top-ranked leagues,’’ he said.
“At the moment, no one looks to our league because of our poor rankings. It’s difficult for a player to make the big move from Zimbabwe.
‘’So, the aim is to clear the road for those coming after us. Some of us are ageing so what we do now, we are not doing it for ourselves but it’s for the future players.’’
Karuru first played for the Warriors at the CHAN finals in Cote d’Ivoire, exactly 10 years ago.
He was one of the outstanding players for the team and was signed by a French side after that tourney.
Zimbabwe have embraced the underdogs tag at this year’s tournament. But after finishing top of Group B which also included DR Congo during the qualifiers, Karuru believes the Warriors have the capacity to cause upsets.
He is also looking forward to a good outing at COSAFA. Karuru is set to bounce back with some unfinished business after his campaign ended prematurely last year with a nasty ankle injury.
Karuru won his first COSAFA medal as skipper in 2017 after he was named co-captain along with former Dynamos man, Ocean Mushure.
The AmaZulu midfielder had a dream competition that year setting a new COSAFA goal-scoring record. His six goals were the highest by an individual player in a single tournament.
“COSAFA is important. We are going there to fight because we want to win it for the third time in a row and keep the cup for good,” said Karuru.
Zimbabwe set a new COSAFA milestone under Sunday Chidzambwa last year when they became the first team to win six COSAFA titles.