The appointment of Zdravko Logarusic as the man in charge of the Warriors was received with mixed feelings, with some saying his ‘vast’ experience in the game will help improve the team’s performance while other referred to him as a failed clown.
The Warriors fan base was surely divided, some thought his marriage with Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) would end the Valinhos way, while the optimistic fans thought he would assemble a formidable side that would match the Reinhard Fabisch’s ‘Dream Team’.
Some of the notable critics of his appointment were Warriors and Liverpool legend, Bruce Grobbelaar who slammed Zifa for appointing a novice of Zim’s football landscape.
Local coaches have had their chance and some have achieved to a certain extent, with the likes of
Sunday Chidzambwa and Calisto Pasuwa leaving a mark and writing their own pieces of history.
Loga’s charges at the CHAN 2021 tourney were booted out with a game to spare, with many attributing the poor performance to lack of fitness on the local players.
It is a public secret that currently Zimbabwe has one of its finest football generations and any coach would struggle to pick from the cream de la cream.
However, having dozens of quality players should not be an excuse for failure to scout for the best but surely a blessing.
During his unveiling as the Warriors head coach in February 2020, Loga promised to shame his critics by turning around the team’s performance for the better.
He however pleaded for but for patience from local stakeholders.
“I am not Messiah I don’t know everything. I have something but I have to take the best from you and we can put it together to create something, that is what is important for me,” said Loga during the presser.
The Croat has surely proved not to be a Messiah if statistics from all his outings are something to go by.
He needed more time to assess players who have been inactive for a long time due to the lockdown, and pressure is building up against him.
He collected a paltry two points from the six games he has handled; one against Malawi another one against Algeria in an Afcon qualifier return leg at the National Sports Stadium.
Against Algeria, the Warriors grabbed a late equalizer courtesy of Prince Dube whom Loga had said to be a fantastic and inform striker but could not choose him ahead of those playing in much competitive leagues.
The Croat seemed to be a nonsense gaffer after changing over half of his provisional CHAN squad during the training camp.
Loga initially called up Dynamos goalie Simbarashe Chinani, dropped him from the squad, called in Taimon Mvula to ‘assess’ him, dropped Mvula and called Chinani back into the squad.
Chinani went on to have a horror night in Cameroon on January 20 after being given the nod ahead of Highlanders veteran goal minder, Ariel Sibanda who also had his fair chance in a one nil loss against the hosts.
The clown tag once again hanged on Loga’s head after the defeat as he alleged the hosts had used ‘juju’ to win the match after he found a bat in the field of play. Loga posed for a photo next to the bat with a piece of paper written “Witchcraft in Cameroon”.
However, Zifa has many questions to answer as to why they keep on encountering the same problems over and over again.
Training camps have always been affected by poor planning while some players have allegedly faked injuries to avoid doing duty for ‘peanuts’.
The association was pressured to charter a plane for the Malawi friendly match last year after it had planned to send the team by bus for the assignment.
The initially planned road trip sparked an outrage, with the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) condemning the plan and calling on the authorities to cancel the trip over concerns of players’ safety.
Zifa is reportedly paying the gaffer US$7000 a month amongst other benefits a contract which has been criticized to be strain on the association which is known for its very bad financial books.
Zimbabwe has an arsenal full of quality players both local and foreign-based, and most of them are at the peak of their careers but they have failed to be consistent when it comes to national duty.
Inconsistencies on recruitment of players and hiring and firing of coaches is another factor which seems to be affecting the consistency of players as they are being introduced to different philosophies in a short space of time.
Thorough research on the success and qualities of a coach before his appointment are key factors, so to avoid a scenario where coaches are hired and fired in a short space of time for not producing the desired results.
If the current results being produced by the team under Loga mean anything, then the combination between the Croat and Zifa is a cause for concern.