Zimbabwe forward Ovidy Karuru tips South Africa as COSAFA Cup favourites
Posted: 3 June 2018 Time: 14:00
Zimbabwe forward Ovidy Karuru admits retaining the Cosafa Cup will not be easy for the Warriors but they taking the tournament as part of the preparation for the AFCON 2019 later this year.
After the annual southern region tournament this month, Zimbabwe will not have any friendly matches to prepare for the resumption of the AFCON qualifiers in September, away to Congo.
Hence the reason why the team called up players like Khama Biliat, who hasn't played for the national team since the AFCON finals last year, and their captain and kingpin Knowledge Musona, who has since been ruled out because of the injury.
The holders of Cosafa Cup, just like South Africa, had a bye and will enter the competition in the quarter finals, where they'll meet the winner of Group B, which consists of Angola, Malawi and Mauritius.
Zimbabwe, who have won this cup five times, one ahead of South Africa, will know who they'll face on Monday, with the group set to be decided later today.
"All I know is, it's not going to be easy, its never been easy because a lot of countries they take it as an opportunity to climb up the FIFA rankings,'' said AmaZulu striker Karuru, who was the star and captain of the side last year for Sunday Chizambwa.
"Everyone wants to win it, especially in Southern Africa. And the expectations, every team will come for Zimbabwe because they want the cup. But I'm sure we are ready.
"I've been talking to the manager (Wellington Mpandare) about it and they're saying they are taking best players Zimbabwe have because they want to take it as an opportunity to assist players so that when we play the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations we'll be ready.
"So I'm sure we'll come with our A-game for the tournament."
Bafana are always known as the biggest rivalry to Zimbabwe in Cosafa Cup action and these two nations have won the title for a record nine times.
Karuru admits he is very impressed with Stuart Baxter's squad and adds that Bafana are hot favourites to emerge victorious at the end of the tournament.
"They (Bafana) have a very, very good squad and their chances of winning it are very, very high, considering first they are playing on the home soil and most of the players picked are dominating in the PSL," said Karuru, who claimed the Golden Boot last year with six goals.
"I'm sure they are big contenders for the cup. We have to be ready for them if we are to meet with South Africa."