Loga back in Croatia

HAVING been spared the axe despite public outcry over poor results, under-fire Warriors coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic flew out of the country Friday night for yet another vacation.

A ZIFA board meeting that had been scheduled yesterday to discuss recommend

This means there will be no drastic measures against the embattled Croat gaffer.ations made by the association’s technical and development committee on Logarusic’s future was also called off.

The Bryton Malandule-led ZIFA technical and development committee met last month soon after Zimbabwe’s disastrous performance at the 2021 COSAFA Cup, in which the Warriors finished bottom of the 10-team tournament.

The committee immediately forwarded its recommendations to the ZIFA board, which has, however, not sat up to this day.

A board meeting that was set for yesterday was called off and instead it was “Loga” who had the luxury of flying back to his native country for another holiday.

The countdown for the crucial 2022 World Cup opening qualifier against South Africa has begun.The Warriors host Bafana Bafana at the National Sports Stadium on September 1.

Logarusic has already made his selection for the crunch clash and letters of invitation have been sent to various clubs.

ZIFA communications manager Xolisani Gwesela explained Logarusic’s latest sejourn.

“He went to Croatia for a short leave.

“Everyone needs some time off their duties and to be with their families.

“Our coach has just gone back to Europe.

“He left on Friday night and he will be back for duty as soon as possible,” said Gwesela.

The coach has now spent almost five months in Croatia since his appointment in January 2020.He has one win in 12 games during the period under review.

Some members of the ZIFA technical and development committee are against the idea of allowing “Loga” to take charge of the World Cup qualifiers.

In his defence, he argues he has so far met his targets, including qualifying for the 2022 African Cup of Nations finals.

The team that will do duty against South Africa has since been selected and Warriors manager

Wellington Mpandare has already sent invitation letters.

“We started with the invitation letters. When the clubs have responded, we will then announce the squad,” Mpandare told The Sunday Mail Sport yesterday.

Former Everton defender Brendan Joel Zibusiso Galloway is among those invited, and the Plymouth Argyle player has already confirmed his availability.

“We are, however, in a difficult situation with Covid-19. FIFA and CAF have not yet come up with a definite position on how the situation will be handled if say a club refuses to release a player,” added Mpandare.

Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Tino Kadewere (Olympic Lyon) and Marshall Munetsi (Stade Reims) failed to travel back home for the last two AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia in March because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

But the good news is that some key players who have been battling injuries are slowly regaining full fitness.

Khama Billiat was last week certified fit by Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter after hobbling off the pitch in last weekend’s Carling Cup match against Orlando Pirates.

France-based Kadewere is back from a troublesome groin, although he missed Lyon’s league opener against Brest yesterday.

Red-hot Tanzanian-based goal poacher Prince Dube is still recovering from a groin injury that saw him miss Azam’s last match of the season in July. He underwent a check-up in Cape Town a fortnight ago and is now back in Bulawayo for some rest.

“I can say I am 50 percent fit now,” said Dube, who scored 14 goals in his debut season in the Tanzanian Premier League and has attracted interest from some European clubs.

The Warriors have also been boosted by the steady rise of AFC Bournemouth left-back Jordan Zemura, who has been receiving rave reviews from his coach Scott Parker.

The 21-year-old Zemura played 90 minutes as Championship side Bournemouth drew 2-2 against West Bromwich Albion in their season opener Friday night.

“He (Zemura) has done well in a short space of time.“An attacking full-back and has really impressed me in that sense. He is still young in his age and young in experience,” Parker told Daily Echo on Thursday.

He added: “But I suspect he is going to get game time this year and hopefully he can grab that with both hands and take that next leap, which is from a player that is developing or a player that’s getting bits of games, to one which can really grasp that.”

Warriors right-back Tendai Darikwa has added responsibility at English League One side Wigan Athletic, where he has been named skipper. The 29-year-old defender arrived at Wigan in January and instantly made an impact before helping his side secure safety in the Sky Bet League One.

The club’s website has been full of praise for Darikwa.

“With over 200 appearances in English football, and having worked with manager Leam Richardson before at Chesterfield, the new Latics skipper will look to lead the club into a successful new era,” wrote the website.

Wigan coach Richardson also explained his decision to hand Darikwa the armband.

“(But) this year we will have Tendayi Darikwa as captain, Max Power as vice-captain.

“I have got that relationship with them from the past, and I feel they have the qualities to take it on. They can be that go-to between the management group and the playing squad, and they can solve any issues or problems. They are very experienced lads, and they have got the compassion from most of the lads,” Richardson told.
(The Sunday Mail)