Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo’s frosty relationship with Ovidy Karuru appears to have cost the midfielder his place in the national team.
Report by Michael Madyira
The France-based player was a notable absentee in Gumbo’s 26-member provisional squad released last week to face Angola in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers final round, first leg match on September 9 in Harare.
Zimbabwe will then travel to Angola a month later for the return leg and complete the potentially stormy duels. Karuru missed a glorious chance to score during a World Cup qualifier match away in Mozambique in June prompting an enraged Gumbo to say that he “would have killed” the 23-year-old if he was his teammate.
Gumbo’s infamous statement was received with condemnation from the football fraternity, who deemed it as an irresponsible utterance. Three days later, the US Boulogne player was accused of match-fixing, together with chief striker, Knowledge Musona, who despite being called up, is doubtful for the Angola tie until the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) publicly apologised for the allegations.
After dropping Karuru under unclear circumstances, Gumbo was battling to explain the player’s absence. “He is not the only one we have left out. “There are many other guys we have not called, so his case is not unique,” Gumbo said before referring all questions to team manager, Nyika Chifamba. Chifamba said they omitted the versatile midfielder because he was club-hunting. “The last time we checked about Karuru, we found out that he was looking for a club, meaning he was not playing.
It is difficult to call someone like that,” said Chifamba. This however proved to be a blatant lie as Karuru is still attached to Boulogne and was training with his club last week. US Boulogne last Wednesday released on their official website page pictures of Karuru training with the rest of the squad. Karuru’s club was at the end of last season relegated to the Championnat National, the third division of French football.
He is in the same situation as Onismor Bhasera whose Plymouth Argyle plies its trade in League Two which is three tiers below the English Premiership. The Championnat, which is two rungs below the French top-flight league, is better than Arnold Chaka’s Botswana b-Mobile Premier League.
With Musona’s lawyers declaring that their stance had not changed, Gumbo would feel the striker’s absence as a deadly blow. Romania-based striker, Mi-ke Temwanjira returns to the Warriors fold after a lengthy absence, while Quincy Antipas has also come out of retirement.