Karuru defends standard of football in Saudi Arabia

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE international Ovidy Karuru says he was impressed by the standard of football in Saudi Arabia during his stint in the oil-rich Asian nation.
The 33-year-old veteran midfielder had a six month spell at Saudi Arabia second-tier club, Al Shoalah last season before returning to South Africa when his contract was not renewed after its expiry in July.
Karuru said the decision by the highly regarded South African coach Pitso Mosimane to join Saudi Arabia second division club Al Ahli shows that the level of football in the country is high.
“People must not be fooled into undermining the league because it is the second division. There are teams that pay really good money there, which is why there are a lot of players coming from other countries, so it is tough,” Karuru said in an interview with the South African football website
“Do you honestly think someone with a CV as good as Pitso’s would go to a league that is not serious. The league is competitive and the beauty about it is that it is never obvious who will win this or that game or who will get promoted.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs and Black Leopards player said in addition to being competitive, Saudi Arabian football is very financially rewarding after cashing in during his stay in the country.
“Some teams in that league pay players winning bonuses of up to USD4000 (approx. R68 000) towards the end of the season which you get after the game in cash,” he said.
“With us, after we won our last game, we were given winning bonuses of 25000 Saudi Riyal (approx. R113 000).”
On the kind of lifestyle one should expect in Saudi Arabia, Karuru said: “The plus about staying in the Middle East is that the lifestyle doesn’t demand so much.
“R200 worth of fuel is a lot and you don’t have to be dressing up because nobody cares about that as they wear their long Arabic garment.
 “I had three tops and three bottoms in six months there because I was always at home alone.
“It is extremely hot during the day, so you don’t go anywhere. They don’t speak English, there are no pubs, and the women don’t even look at you, so all your money stays in your pocket, unlike in South Africa where you spend easily as there are always temptations.”