Warriors not on holiday, says Loga
Tadious Manyepo in ALGIERS, Algeria
WARRIORS coach, Zdravko Logarusic, says his men are not here on holiday but pick points in their 2021 AFCON qualifier against Algeria at the 5 July 1962 Stadium in Algiers tonight.
The match gets underway at 9pm local time. This is Logarusic’s first test following his appointment in January this year.
He was supposed to take charge of this fixture, whose return leg will be played at the National Sports Stadium on Monday, in March but the games had to be deferred because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And, for eight months, the Croat has been singing for the return of the game.
Tonight, he gets his first real examination against an Algerian team, which has not only gone for 20 games without defeat, but has a superstar like Manchester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez.
“I know this is one of the most important fixtures, in terms of what is involved and for me, personally, as the coach,” said Loga.
“We have had several problems in the build-up but we cannot use that as an excuse.
“We are ready for the challenge and the players’ attitude has been inspiring.
“I am very impressed by how they have been reacting and behaving.
“I have an exciting group of success-hungry players. I am always telling them to believe in themselves.”
Loga said his team will not sit back and try to defend but will go out to attack.
“Yes, we are cautious but we will be offensive. We need a result, it’s simple,’’ he said.
“We are not going to deploy a defensive formation. We are not here for tourism, we are here for work.
“I trust my lads and they will give it their all.
“Historically, we have done better than Algeria, in recent meetings, and that should spur us on.
“We know they are the best team in Africa but they should know that we are Warriors and mean business.”
The match will be played in an empty stadium but the Warriors will not be without backers in the terraces after Zimbabwe’s Algerian Embassy staff, led by Ambassador Vusimusi Ntonga, were cleared to attend the game. Ntonga hosted a luncheon for the team and rallied them to play their hearts out.
“The fact is that Algeria are a good team. They have all the good players in their fold and they ought to be respected,” he said.
“But, we also have our own good players. I am sure the whole of Algeria knows Tino Kadewere. He has been in terrific form and he is a real big star.
“We also have the likes of Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, David Moyo, to mention but a few. “We stand a very good chance of winning the match.
“If we can’t win then let’s push for a share of the spoils.
“I am very happy that we have been allowed to attend the match by the authorities and we will be rallying behind the team from the terraces.”
Algeria lead Group H standings with six points, after two round of fixtures, while Zimbabwe are second on four points.
Botswana are third, with a single point to their name, with Zambia sitting at the foot of the table, without any point.
Two teams from the group will earn the ticket to play in the AFCON finals in Cameroon which have been postponed by a year to 2022.