BY MICHAEL KARIATI
WHEN Zdravko Logarusic finally leaves his position as Zimbabwe national soccer team coach, one thing he would have taught Zimbabweans is statistics.
Right now, Zimbabweans know that Logarusic’s Warriors have played 12 matches, won one, lost seven, and drawn four. In those matches, they have worked out that his teams scored only nine goals, against 18 for the opposition, a difference of minus nine goals.
Some are even forecasting what the statistics would be in six months’ time if the Croat is allowed to stay on as Warriors coach despite his disastrous run since the day he was appointed.
One other thing that Zimbabweans will also be reminded of Logarusic is that his team lost 2-1 to a group of schoolboys from Dakar, Senegal, and gave an excuse that he was not worried about the result but was building a team for the future.
In other countries Logarusic would have been fired or forced to resign long back soon after Chan, but not in Zimbabwe where coaches are appointed not on merit or reputation, but on a guessing game.
To be honest, so far, the only serious opposition Zimbabwe has faced under Logarusic is Algeria yet statistics are as bad as if the Warriors have played Argentina, Italy, England, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, the real Teranga Lions, and not the schoolboys that came to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup.
The Warriors’ fall in South Africa is Zimbabwe’s worst performance since the Cosafa Cup was introduced in 1997, that also coming hard on the heels of Zimbabwe’s worst performance at the Chan and both under Logarusic.
Logarusic was quick to defend himself claiming the Warriors were not ready for the Chan and the Cosafa Cup as they had not played competitive football since 2019 due to Covid-19.
Fine, Zimbabwean football has been off since 2019, but that did not give Loga the passport to pick up a third-string squad of the real local football stars who shone during the short period our clubs competed in the Chibuku Super Cup.
The truth is that, for other reasons, Zimbabwe did not take its best players to the Cosafa Cup. Where were Donovan Bernard, Ishmael Wadi, Denver Mukamba and Rodwell Chinyengetere? Did they refuse to surrender a part of what they were going to earn in South Africa to be part of the team?
Or were “too old” to be paraded in the Cosafa Cup to attract suitors from South African clubs for the benefit of underground player agents?
Ironically, after the defeat to the Senegalese schoolboys, Loga went on to tell the whole of Africa that he was happy with his preparations for the next Chan tournament — what a contradiction after initially indicating that the players did not play well because they were match rusty.
The Croat contradicts himself further saying he has identified three players to be drafted into his World Cup squad for the assignments against Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa — surely from which players ? That pathetic Cosafa Cup team?
Word is that Zifa are meeting to deliberate on the Warriors’ performance in the Cosafa Cup, but what is there to discuss except to get rid of the comic Croat before Zimbabwe faces humiliation in the World Cup?
Logarusic has proved that he was not the best man for the job and that, in fact, Zifa erred in firing Joey Antipas who had led Zimbabwe to a win and a draw in 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers.
Where we are right now demands the services of a local coach — somebody who knows our players and our environment better, but should be paid his dues and for that matter without fail as is the case with Loga.
A lot of names are being thrown around as possible replacements for Loga with the most popular suggestion being to bring back Antipas to work alongside Norman Mapeza before the 2022 World Cup gets off the starting blocks.
From the outset, qualification to the World Cup looks impossible, but in reality, it can be done when one considers the quality of players Zimbabwe has at its disposal and the level of opposition.
South Africa are rebuilding under new coach Hugo Broos after a disastrous Nations Cup campaign and Ghana have lost their way at the top of African football while Ethiopia, we can just respect.
To make our World Cup dream a reality, Zifa should get rid of Logarusic when there is still time, and get the right captain to steer the Warriors ship to the land of Qatar.
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