Goodbye Loga, it’s now over
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
ZDRAVKO Logarusic’s divisive, lifeless and miserable time as Zimbabwe coach, which has turned the Warriors into a punching bag, is set to end in shame today.
The ZIFA board, under pressure from the domestic football community, are set to seal his fate.
It means Loga will not be able to make his debut at the AFCON finals in January next year.
He was set to grace the tournament for the first time after the Warriors booked their place at the showcase set for Cameroon.
The Croat has won just one game in 14 matches since he took charge of the national team.
He will leave his team bottom of the table in the 2022 World Cup Group G qualifiers without a goal and just a point to their credit.
His time in charge of the Warriors has deeply divided local football and transformed ZIFA into fire-fighters, who are always scrambling to try and defend his glaring shortcomings.
He has also lost control of his dressing room, with his criticism of players, instead of his tactical flaws, deflating morale among the Warriors.
Many of the players feel they have been forced to concentrate more on defence, instead of attack, and this has crippled the team, which explains the general lack of goals.
The Warriors haven’t scored in their last three AFCON/World Cup qualifiers with their last goal coming from a rebound, in a Nations Cup qualifier, against Botswana, in Francistown.
Perfect Chikwende scored that goal after the goalkeeper had pushed captain Knowledge Musona’s long-range effort from a free-kick, back into play, with Chikwende bundling it home.
Given that goal came in the 15th minute, it means the Warriors are yet to score in three hours, 45 minutes in an AFCON/World cup qualifier.
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo has called for an urgent board meeting, in Harare today where the fate of Loga will be sealed.
The association, who have been divided for long over the continued stay of the Croatian coach, are now set to act under pressure from the whole football family, who feel the Warriors have lost their way under the gaffer.
“The president has called for an urgent meeting, which should take place tomorrow (today),’’ a source told The Herald.
‘’The pressure is building from all corner,s but the problem has been that Loga has sympathisers, on the board, who would defend him, with everything.
“Some of these people were involved, in his recruitment. Probably, they know that due diligence was not followed and would want to make sure that their shortcomings are covered up. But, we cannot be holding the nation to ransom.’’
It has also emerged some of those who have been backing Loga are concerned about what the coach could spill in the event he is kicked out, given he has a tendency to just explode.
“You never know what Loga can come up with and that’s the fear, he could just explode and start saying things, even if they are not backed by facts,’’ said another source.
“It’s a tricky period for some people.’’
Loga, who was appointed last year in February, has six months still running on his contract.
ZIFA board member, Sugar Chagonda, could have set the tone for the board when he criticised Loga, for his inept leadership qualities, in a letter he penned from Ethiopia, following the loss to Walia ibex.
“Beyond the facts laid before us to the fact that the national team coach lacks basic appreciation of the game, he is too temperamental and lacks leadership skills,” said Chagonda in a letter to Kamambo.
“The long and short of it Mr president, my recommendation is to part ways with Mr Logarusic immediately.
“Only a stubborn fly can follow the corpse to the grave.
“We need to immediately appoint a local coach to take over. He has been given adequate time to prove his unworthiness and he has done that.
“Who needs him now because clearly our football doesn’t need him?”
Loga has had a difficult ride as the Warriors coach since his appointment last year in February.
He has presided over 14 games covering the CHAN, AFCON, COSAFA Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and a few friendlies, and has managed only one win in the AFCON qualifier against Botswana.
The Croat, however, has maintained his mandate was the AFCON qualification and the World Cup qualifiers.
But, the journey to Qatar has started off on a poor note, after his team were held to a 0-0 draw at home by an experimental South African side.
They then lost to Ethiopia, who are ranked 137th in the world and 42nd in Africa.
This defeat to the minnows is likely to impact heavily on the rankings and the confidence of the team ahead of the back-to-back World Cup ties against Ghana in the Group G qualifiers.
“We have just started mobilising resources, fundraising for the AFCON campaign but under these dire circumstances it will be difficult if not impossible to get any meaningful support from stakeholders,’’ said Chagonda.
“The whole nation has lost confidence in both the gaffer and our administration.
“National confidence has plummeted to the lowest ebb under our watch. We need to rise and make decisive decisions to save our football.’’
The Warriors also have another eye on the AFCON finals set for Cameroon, early next year. Chagonda suggested it was going to be disastrous to maintain the status quo since the football family have lost confidence in the current Warriors technical set-up.