HARARE – Ovidy Karuru scored a hat-trick as the Warriors powered their way into the Cosafa Castle Cup quarter-finals with a convincing 6-0 win over Seychelles at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, in Rustenburg, South Africa on Friday night.
A goal in the first half and two goals after the break from the Zimbabwe captain inspired the Warriors to an emphatic victory and was voted Man of the Match for the second time in three games.
Zimbabwe will now meet Swaziland who were on bye in the quarterfinals.
Highlanders’ striker Prince Dube, who was handed his first Warriors cap, scored the other goal in the 57th minute after sweeping past the goalkeeper before placing the ball from a tight angle with his left boot. Defender Ocean Mushure used as a second half substitute scored a brace in the 85 and 90 minutes to seal Zimbabwe’s date against Swaziland.
Zimbabwe fell just a goal shy of the Cosafa record of seven goals.
“I think today (yesterday) it was not about me, it was about us qualifying to the next stage, the quarterfinals and being man of the match I have to give credit to my teammates because we were complementing each other very well,” an ecstatic Karuru said after the match.
“Now we have to focus on the next game against Swaziland, we have to be ready for them because we have played three matches, they are still fresh but it doesn’t matter we are ready for them.”
Assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa said: “I think it was a good match. We created a number of chances and the conversion rate was super scoring six goals. You cannot ask for more from the youngsters,” Mutasa said.
“I think if you look at the players that we have there’s a lot of coercion in the team and I think we are ready for Swaziland.”
Seychelles coach Rodney Choisy conceded his team played badly and would need to get back to the drawing board.
“We played against a very strong Zimbabwean team, they were totally in control of the game but we made a lot of silly mistakes and the result speaks for its self,” Choisy said.
“The players for me, I’m not satisfied, I think most of them they didn’t perform to the level that I expected of them and I think we need to go back to the drawing board and work again…we were beaten tactically because of the kind of goals that we conceded especially from the crosses, so we need to go back and work on how to defend those set pieces.”
Zimbabwe who led Group B on goal difference having been tied on points with second-placed Madagascar started the match on the offensive and were rewarded in the 24th minute through Karuru’s left footed effort from outside the box that hit the crossbar before bouncing back into play, Dube pounced on the rebound but the referee had already signalled a goal.
Karuru made it 2-0 two minutes from getting his opener tapping in a Mitchell Katsvairo cross from the right as Zimbabwe went for the break leading 2-0.
In the second half Dube added his name to the scoresheet in the 57th minute before Karuru completed his hat-trick with a goal in the 67th minute and after that it was a Mushore late show that saw the Warriors harvesting half a dozen goals.