23 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Warriors to Play for Cyclone Idai Victims

WARRIORS midfielder Ovidy Karuru says they have a responsibility to win tomorrow's 2019 AFCON qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville to cheer the spirits of the people whose lives have been shattered by Cyclone Idai.

The Warriors need just a point to ensure a second back-to-back appearance at the biannual continental contest.

But, as cruel as fate would have it, Cyclone Idai destroyed lives and left a trail of destruction in the country's eastern highlands.

Karuru, one of the key members of Sunday "Mhofu" Chidzambwa's squad, sobbed as he emphasised the need for the team to win for those affected by the tragedy.

The Warriors have already, as confirmed by team manager Wellington Mpandare, started mobilising resources they intend to donate to the victims.

A dinner, which was supposed to be held by President Mnangagwa for the Warriors last night, was cancelled because the country was in mourning.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo confirmed the developments at a Press conference in Harare yesterday.

He said over 18 000 tickets had already been sold and pledged to take a dollar from each ticket purchased towards the victims of the cyclone.

The Warriors will also wear black armbands in honour of those who perished in the storm.

Karuru said Zimbabwe can't afford to lose the match against Congo after the tragic events in the country this week.

"This is the match they were obviously looking forward to win given what is at stake," said Karuru.

"It's unfortunate that our fellow Zimbabweans had to die that way.

"It really hurts us and, as the Warriors, we will not only donate to those who were affected, but we will play for the deceased as well.

"We cannot afford to lose the match and fail to qualify for the AFCON finals. I am very sure all those who perished want us to make it to Egypt.

"We cannot afford to do them a disservice.

"We are going into the match knowing fully well that we need to play a role to, at least, reduce the pain which is troubling the nation."

Newboy Admiral Muskwe, who plies his trade at English Premiership side Leicester City, has been impressive at training.

He said the Warriors will not let their country down.

"It's not a secret that the match against Congo will be tough.

"We want to qualify and they also want to qualify. But we have a better chance than them. We also need to help the nation heal as a dark cloud continues to hang after what happened in Manicaland.

"It is very sad to lose our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in such a horrific way.

"We will do everything to reduce the pain."

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