ZIFA to decide under-fire Loga’s fate GOOD OLD TIMES...Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic (fourth from left) and his Cameroonian agent, Robert Moutsinga (second from right) pose for a group photo with ZIFA board members (from left) Bryton Malandule, Felton Kamambo, Barbra Chikosi, Philemon Machana and Farai Jere in Harare in February last year.

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

THE ZIFA board are expected to convene and review the Warriors’ disastrous performance at the COSAFA Cup with some key decisions, likely to be made, regarding the composition of the technical team.

The association have come under intense criticism, following the poor showing by the Warriors, in South Africa, under under-fire coach, Zdravko Logarusic.

ZIFA board member, and chairman of the Technical and Development Committee, Bryton Malandule, told The Herald he was not happy with the way things turned out in Port Elizabeth.

“Obviously, our objective as a board when we enter any tournament, be it COSAFA, CHAN or AFCON, we do not do so to go and fail, irrespective of the type of players, representing us,” said Malandule.

“Of course, a tournament like COSAFA is for developmental players but we expect the team to be competitive. 

“If you look at the whole scenario, it’s not Zimbabwe alone who are fielding developmental sides. 

“So, we expect the players selected to form a team that is strong enough to go and win the tournament, because we have guys playing in South Africa and Zambia.

“We had some guys, who featured in the Chibuku Super Cup, and the tournament was a chance for them as well.

“It is only fair that, as a board, we don’t interfere with the selection of the players. It’s the mandate of the technical team and we trust them to come up with a competitive team.

“As a board, the objective is to win and at the same time developing. Development, yes, but we expected more in terms of performance than what actually transpired.”

Zimbabwe played four games at the tournament, drew two and lost two, to finish bottom of Group B, with two points. 

Malandule said Loga will have some explanation to do when he comes back from South Africa.

“We except the technical team to bring us their report, via the Technical Director’s office,’’ he said. 

“We will then analyse the report, putting everything in the right context. 

“Of course, we know some of the reasons why the team did not perform to expectations. 

“It was partly because our local players did not play enough competitive football, in the last two years, due to the Covid-19 disruptions. 

“But, let’s wait for these guys to come back from COSAFA and table their report.’’

Guest nation Senegal finished top of the group.

Apart from the COSAFA Cup debacle, the red flags have been raised over Loga’s capacity, to lead the Warriors to glory. 

His report card makes a grim reading, with only one win from 12 games, seven defeats and four draws. 

Last year, the Warriors suffered the ignominy of finishing as the bottom-ranked side, among all the 16 teams, at the CHAN finals, without a point, in their three group matches.

Malandule said Zimbabwe were looking to qualify for the World Cup and they will put their house in order, ahead of the opening matches, against South Africa and Ethiopia, in September. 

The former referee said they had hoped to use COSAFA Cup as part of the preparations. 

“We have got some crucial matches in September and part of the objective was to see where we stand, as a team, ahead of the World Cup games,’’ he said. 

“So, this was an important tournament for us, to gauge ourselves. 

“As you might be aware, we were not able to play international friendlies, during the last FIFA window, because of circumstances beyond our control.

“As a board, we also have to self-introspect, so that we set the ground for success, in the future.

“I believe we can qualify for the World Cup finals. We have the talent and we just need to make sure we are well positioned for the challenge.

“So, we are going to sit down as a board, before the World Cup qualifiers for an introspection, to see whether we are on course, or not.’’

He emphasised he was not talking about dismissing Loga from his job. 

“Right now, I am not talking about changing coaches, or anything to that effect, but I am sure a lot of things will be considered,’’ said Malandule.

“I am speaking my mind as chairman of the technical committee.

“We cannot just sit and do nothing because our business at ZIFA is football and our flagship team is the Warriors. 

“It is our mandate to see to it that the team performs to their best and to the nation’s expectations.

“Apart from the World Cup qualifiers, we also need to go and do well at next year’s AFCON finals. 

“We have never gone past the group stages at the tournament. So, everything we do, and all the matches that we will be playing, should be building up towards that success.’’

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