UNDER FIRE Warriors’ coach Zdravko Logaruši believes he has achieved his immediate goal of securing an Afcon finals ticket for Zimbabwe, arguing that judging him by Cosafa Cup and Chan statistics is unfair on him and his assistants.
The Warriors performed dismally in the Cosafa Cup in South Africa where they bowed out of the competition without registering a win.
Zimbabwe played four games, drawing 0-0 against Mozambique, sharing the spoils in a 2-2 stalemate against Malawi, losing 2-0 to Namibia and 2-1 to Senegal.
Calls for Zifa to fire Loga have intensified, with statistics heavily staked against the Croat, who has only one win in 12 games in charge of the national team.
His only victory was a 1-0 win over Botswana in an Afcon qualifier that secured Zimbabwe’s qualification for the finals in Cameroon next year.
In an audio that has gone viral, Loga said the media has been attacking him without understanding the gist of the Warriors’ underperformance in the Cosafa Cup.
“Let me just say a few things about the Cosafa tournament, we lost five starters even before the tournament started. The day before leaving, Knox Mutizwa decided not to come on the last training, Evans Rusike got injured. Kelvin Moyo, two days before decided not to come. Can you imagine our team with Kelvin Moyo as our central defender, Knox and Rusike as strikers? And then Perfect (Chikwende) and Godknows (Murwira) tested positive to Covid-19 before leaving.
“Perfect as right-winger, Godknows left full-back, Kelvin Moyo as a central-defender, Evans Rusike and Knox as strikers, I think that’s the team that should be up there together with Ovidy (Karuru), Jimmy Dzingai, Washington Arubi and two or three young boys. But that team never came to Cosafa because five players decided not to come because of this and that. In the middle of nowhere we just called five other young boys to give them exposure,” said Loga.
He also blamed Cosafa organisers for the fixtures, alleging they worked against Zimbabwe.
“And then we realised somebody made fixtures at Cosafa that didn’t fit us at all. Somebody made fixtures like (the) biggest enemy like someone doesn’t want Zimbabwe to pass the group stage. Can you imagine we played four international games in six days? Even much better and prepared teams can’t do it. First two games we had two draws because we had energy and after that (the) energy disappeared because injuries came, fatigue came and Covid-19,” said Loga.
He said there were positives from the Cosafa Cup as they identified players he intends to call-up for the World Cup qualifiers as well as some who will feature in the Chan qualifiers.
Some players whose contracts with their clubs are about to expire also attracted interest from South African clubs, a move he says will widen the Warriors’ selection base.
“When I came here as a coach, our main target was to qualify for the Afcon. I did it. They said coach we need to qualify for the World Cup and I said we’ll come close and we’ll do it. Other tournaments like Chan and Cosafa should be tournaments to check other players. Those statistics you’re talking about are of players who haven’t played league and had no proper preparations. Accept those things without looking for excuses.
“I’m begging you; we have to be positive. The World Cup qualification is coming and we have to stay as a unit like we did with Algeria and Botswana and that’s the way we are going to make progress,” Loga said. Chronicle