Home » Sports » ’It’s Time to Pay Back’

GRITTY midfielder Willard Katsande was yesterday granted a reprieve by coach Ian Gorowa and promised to pay back the nation for the pain it suffered in the controversy triggered by his absence from the 2015 Nations Cup eliminator against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.Belgium-based midfielder Ovidy Karuru also joined his teammates at training, boosting the Warriors’ selection options ahead of Sunday’s must-win Nations Cup qualifier against the Taifa Stars at the National Sports Stadium.

Katsande had riled Gorowa following the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder’s now-show for the training camp ahead of the first leg between the Warriors and the Taifa Stars which Zimbabwe lost 0-1 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on May 18.

Now the Warriors need to overturn that deficit at the National Sports Stadium by ensuring that they win by, at least, a two-goal margin to see off the Taifa Stars and aance to the second of the preliminary round stage.

Katsande and Karuru were missing when the Warriors travelled to Dar es Salaam, but the latter’s absence was known as his Belgian club declined to release him.

However, Katsande’s explanation which also came at the 11th hour, did not convince the technical crew and the 28-year-old midfielder had fallen out with Gorowa following the poor manner in which he handled his absence from national duty.

But after meeting with his coach and team manager Sharrif Mussa, Katsande was then handed a stay of execution and allowed to rejoin the Warriors and immediately got down to business and trained with the rest of the squad.

Mussa said the player explained his no-show to the coach after which he was given the benefit of the doubt and pardoned.

“The coach has had a talk with him and he gave his side of the story and at the end of the day he was given the benefit of the doubt and will now be part of the camp as we prepare for Sunday’s match,” Mussa said.

Katsande also expressed relief at having the matter resolved.

His absence, in unclear circumstances, had also been viewed with suspicion by the majority of the fans who felt he had snubbed the call to national duty.

“I am happy to be back and I am happy the coach is making us work hard at training which should help me regain fitness,” said Katsande.

“The coach has given me a chance to play again and I will just have to do my best for the team and for the nation.”

Katsande said he was aware that the incidents surrounding his no-show had left him under pressure to perform if thrown into the fray in the return leg on Sunday.

“I have explained to the coach and the manager that I was not feeling well and I am just glad that the matter has been resolved now.

“I know that there will be pressure on me and on the team since we lost the first game, but I think pressure is something that I can handle now . . . Kaizer Chiefs is a demanding team and there is always pressure in each game you play for the club and that experience is helping me,” Katsande said.

Gorowa, who watched in shock as the Warriors put on the worst performance of his reign as national coach during the first leg, will this time have the luxury of more selection options in midfield following the arrival of Denver Mukamba and Karuru who were at training yesterday.

Dynamos hardman Stephen Alimenda was the only midfielder who performed to expectations in Tanzania with Danny Phiri, Peter Moyo and winger Kuda Mahachi off form as was the striking pair of Cuthbert Malajila and Tendai Ndoro.

Karuru, whose Belgian club OH Leuven were relegated from Ligue 1, also revealed his excitement with having to bounce back into the Warriors fold, having last turned up for the national team in the failed 2013 Nations Cup qualifying campaign under Rahman Gumbo.

“Of course, it has been on-and-off with the national team, but whenever you get a call-up to national duty it is always an honour to be considered by the coach in a country that has many good players.

“In this game there is a bit of pressure on our team because of the result from Tanzania, but pressure is a part of football and whether at clubs or national team, it is only how you deal with it that matters,” Karuru said.

Karuru also acknowledged that he would be one of the players who will come under the spotlight on Sunday.

“I have seen a fighting spirit and sense of unity in this squad and I think we have a g chance of progressing. There is also competition and I will have to fight for my place and make sure I utilise the chance if I get an opportunity to play.

“I think what we need now is to cross the knock-out stages because when you are in the group stage, your chances of qualifying are high,” Karuru said.

Karuru also put his head on the block insisting that losing to the Taifa Stars was not an option.

“We are not here to lose this game we cannot afford to lose it because everyone in the squad wants to qualify to play at the Nations Cup.

“We had a look at the D of the first leg and we noted their weaknesses so our aim is to work on our strengths now.

“But I want to appeal to everyone to be patient with the team because I am sure goals will come on Sunday, if only the fans can make noise and intimidate the opponents and make them panic, it will make our job a lot easier as well,” Karuru said.

Karuru revealed that he had endured a frustrating season at his club where he had been left in the cold for seven months before bouncing back in January.

“I just could not understand why our former coach could not play me although he kept telling me that I was one of the best players at the club and it was only when he was fired that I started playing in January, but by then we were already in trouble and the club got relegated so I will have to look for a new team by the start of next season.

“But for now I just want to help my country to do well in these Nations Cup qualifiers,” Karuru said.

Squad

Goalkeepers: G. Chigova, M. Diya, W. Arubi

Defenders: H. Zvirekwi, E. Chipeta, P. Jaure, M. Ncube, R. Pfumbidzai

Midfielders: W. Katsande, D. Mukamba, D. Phiri, P. Manhanga, S. Alimenda, K. Mahachi, T. Chawapiwa, O Karuru, M. Mudehwe

Strikers: T. Ndoro, E. Sadomba, K. Musharu, C. Malajila

Source : The Herald

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