Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, yesterday said there will be no honeymoon period for new Warriors’ coach, Zdrakvo “Loga” Logarusic.
The Croat, who was officially unveiled in Harare yesterday, officially began work as the Warriors coach with Kamambo challenging him to deliver.
He will begin his tenure with tough back-to-back 2021 AFCON qualifiers against African champions Algeria next month.
Soon, afterwards, the Warriors will compete in the CHAN tournament which runs from April 4-25 in Cameroon.
Loga faces a tricky situation as the domestic Premiership is currently off season.
Kamambo yesterday reiterated the AFCON and World Cup campaigns remain the main goals for Zimbabwe.
He challenged the coach to come up with a plan to make sure the Warriors qualify for the 2021 AFCON finals in Cameroon as a starting point.
Zimbabwe have been to the continental football jamboree four times in 2004, 2006, 2017 and 2019 but, on all occasions, failed to progress from the group stage.
“We settled for Loga because we believe he shares our dream of taking our football to greater heights,” said Kamambo.
“We have already begun providing the necessary tools for him to start work right away and we will continue to support the coach and his technical team.
‘‘He has quite a busy schedule.
“We want to make sure that, in the next 10 days, he would have visited all the country’s 10 provinces.
“We also have a busy schedule, as far as the national teams are concerned, so there is no time to sit and relax.
‘‘Our goal is to make our national team competitive and our thinking, as the board, is that we have the right players at the moment who we are confident have the capacity to surpass any achievements of the past.
“There is a target already set. We have coaches who have managed to take our team to AFCON, so you need to do much better than that.
‘‘There is a lot of expectation from our football family.’’
The Warriors are scheduled to resume their 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign with an away match to Algeria on March 23.
They return home to complete the back to back clashes on March 31.
Zimbabwe are currently second in Group H with four points from two games.
The Warriors drew 0-0 at home against Botswana before upsetting Zambia 2-1 at their backyard in Lusaka.
Zimbabwe are still in the running for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar after edging Somalia in the preliminary round.
“ZIFA’s plea to all the Zimbabweans is for the nation to support the coach so that football can begin to bring us together again in celebration as we move on from anti-climaxes of the past,’’ said Kamambo.
“That is our appeal, as ZIFA, we need to work as a family so that we achieve our goals.
‘‘I know Zimbabweans want results right away but let’s give him the chance, the support that he wants and we will get there.’’
ZIFA acting vice-president, Philemon Machana, said Loga was the best candidate they could settle for in a large basket of applicants.
“As per our motto, we would want football to do the talking,’’ said Machana.
‘‘The coming in of our coach is just a fulfilment of the journey that we have embarked on as a board to say that we need to be serious about our football and we need football brains to also help our football to grow.
‘‘We believe in the coach that we have to be the best coach.
“Just to dispel rumours, the coach we have here was the number one (choice) when the technical and development committee was doing their initial assessment and interviews.
“So, he is not coming as a compromise coach where we say the number one was more expensive or we could not meet his expectations, no.
‘‘He was number one technically, so he is the best person among those who applied for the job.’’
Loga said he was geared up for the Warriors job.
The 54-year-old left his role as coach of Sudan in December when his contract was not renewed.
He will be assisted by Joey Antipas, who had been the Warriors’ caretaker coach from August to December, Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya.
During his two years with Sudan, he led them to a third place at the 2018 CHAN tournament in Morocco‚ and to a spot in the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The colourful Logac has managed Ghanaian clubs Asante Kotoko, King Faisal Babes and Ashanti Gold as well as Angola’s Interclube.
He also spent time in East Africa at Kenyan clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as well as a spell in Tanzania at Simba.
“I cannot do it by myself. In this job I need proper support from my technical staff,’’ he said.
‘‘I need proper support from the players, proper support from the association and, most importantly, the media and the supporters.
“We must create an environment that gives us results. With that we don’t care who is Algeria or any other opponent . . .
“I am happy for this opportunity and I will not disappoint you. But, also, don’t disappoint me, you will see we will do it.
‘‘We have talent out there.’’
He said when he told Ghanaians they were the favourites, to win the World Cup group, he was simply trying to push them into a comfort zone and hit them when they least expect.