BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic made headlines at Chan finals in Cameroon when he accused the hosts of using witchcraft ahead of the competition opener between Zimbabwe and the West African country.
He famously posed for a picture with a bat, which he found on the centre circle of the match day pitch and wrote “witchcraft in Cameroon” on a sheet of paper.
Caf reacted to the matter and launched an investigation into the allegations.
And after Zimbabwe’s dismal performance at the tournament, including losing to Cameroon 1-0 in the tournament opener, Logarusic came under heavy criticism for making juju accusations.
But the Croat, who has been coaching in Africa for a while now, has finally responded to critics on his beliefs while sharing his experiences with juju in Africa.
“About Juju, I’m a Roman Catholic and I come from a very conservative country, Croatia. We don’t believe in juju. We believe in our hard work, our knowledge and believe in ourselves,” the 55-year-old gaffer said during a press conference in Botswana.
Loga, as he is affectionately known, became the first foreign coach to qualify Zimbabwe for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) following the Warriors narrow win in Botswana on Thursday.
This was in spite of the clamours for him to be sacked by some section of the fans after the CHAN embarrassment in January.
The Croat revealed how he has been made to sign contracts, which compelled him to respect local tradition at some African clubs.
“This is my sixth country in Africa that I have coached in after Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Angola and Tanzania. I have some countries where I worked for clubs like Simba, Gor Mahia and Asante Kotoko.
“Those people, when I got there and signed the contract, part of the contract was that a coach must respect local tradition.
“When I asked what is local tradition, they said you will see (laughing) and later I saw lots of juju at work.
“I was just enjoying seeing how people can speculate and do these things, because I had signed a contract that I should respect.
“I would just see and keep my cool, but I don’t believe in those things. I would see some players drinking water with different flower(s), cutting (slaughtering) sheep, putting money in the river when we travelled. There are so many things I saw but what can I do?”
“I even saw how they put chicken bones. I have seen lots of that at different clubs and I respect them, but I don’t believe in that at all. And before every game even when I was in Sudan, I just said God help me tomorrow. I would pray, but usually when the match comes I forget,” he said.
As a coach in Africa Loga has steadily built his profile having been to two CHAN finals, first with Sudan and lately with Zimbabwe.
And qualifying for the Afcon finals remains his biggest achievement to date.
His start to life as the Warriors coach has not been easy as it coincided with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He spent nine months without having coached a single match since signing the contract in January 2020.
Interestingly Logarusic has won one match in seven matches as Warriors coach and that one match was enough to qualify the Warriors for the Afcon finals.