Warriors vice captain Ovidy Karuru has explained the importance of beating South Africa in the opening match of the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

Zimbabwe are in Group G together with Bafana Bafana, Ghana and Ethiopia.

The national team is returning to the competition after missing the 2018 edition through a ban and will begin the qualifying campaign at home between June 5-8. They will then travel to Ethiopia in the following few days for the Matchday 2.

The Warriors will return to action in September with back-to-back clashes against Ghana in the first week of that month before rounding up the qualifiers with a trip to South Africa and a home fixture against Ethiopia in October.

Speaking to NewsDay, Karuru said winning their first match will lay a good foundation and boost the team’s confidence in the campaign.

He said: “A good start is always important because it gives us a good foundation on which to build our campaign going forward.

“World Cup qualifiers are tough and only the best team will progress. That means we will need to win almost all the matches in the group to go through. Winning the first match will obviously give us confidence. I’m happy that we are going to start at home.”

The Warriors have never qualified for the World Cup finals, but Karuru says it’s now time for the country to make history.

“There is always a first time for everything,” he said.

“There was a time where we were failing to qualify for Afcon finals, but we eventually did. In life, never say never. We will do our best and see what God has planned for us.”