Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reports
NEWLY-APPOINTED Warriors coach, Zdravko “Loga’’ Logarusic, has flexed his muscles after telling ZIFA he is not comfortable working with Joey Antipas as the first assistant coach, The Herald on Saturday can exclusively reveal.
Antipas had applied for the top job after a brief successful stint at the helm of the senior men’s national football team, but the association chose to give him an inferior role of assisting the Croat. The Chicken Inn gaffer is one of the most successful Zimbabwean coaches, having won the league title twice, and has also coached in South Africa.
During his last tenure with the Warriors, Antipas did fairly well, shepherding the team to the next stage of the World Cup qualifying phases.
He also helped them to qualify for the CHAN finals while he guided them to collect four points, out of a possible six, in the opening 2021 AFCON qualifiers. But the Croat has laid down the marker, telling the country’s football leaders he does not need the help of Antipas.
Loga hinted at a media conference, where he was unveiled on Thursday, he felt a bit uncomfortable with working with someone who had also applied for his job. Sources exclusively told The Herald on Saturday the developments in the Warriors camp.
“Soon after yesterday’s press conference, coach Loga told the ZIFA leadership that he is not comfortable working with Antipas,’’ the sources said.
“It came as a surprise to us all, we do not know his reservations about Antipas. The president (Felton Kamambo) and the ZIFA board are yet to make a decision to leave Antipas from the new set-up or to force him onto the technical department.
“Loga only expressed reservations with Antipas but the other members of the technical department are safe and they will be part of the new set-up.’’
Antipas’ club, Chicken Inn, had already said they were not happy with the set-up because they feel their coach should concentrate fully on the Gamecocks. The Bulawayo side believe they would have been champions last season had Antipas not been distracted by the national team commitments.
Meanwhile, the fate of Warriors’ team manager, Wellington Mpandare, who is very popular with the players, remains to be seen.
Mpandare did not attend the media briefing where ZIFA unveiled Loga, prompting questions from journalists about his role in the team. ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, said they advertised the post and the team manager would be announced in due course.
Mpandare has been interacting with the foreign players, including Macauley Bonne, checking on their availability for the next assignments.
He was mandated by ZIFA to be the point man in communications with the foreign-based players.