The Zimbabwe Football Asociation (Zifa) on Thursday unveiled the new Zimbabwe national team ‘Warriors’ coach Zdravko ‘Loga’ Logarusic at a media conference held at a local hotel in the capital.
The nomadic 55 year-old Croatian has coached teams in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan and his native Croatia, spending an average one and half years at each cluband is a holder of a CAF A and EUFA pro licences.
The Croat admitted that ‘It’s a big responsibility’ coaching the national team but he hoped to do well and improve the national team and football in the country even though he has no set specific targets at the moment.
Introducing the new coach Zifa president Felton Kamambo said Logarusic’s selection as national coach was done on merit and the Croat was best candidate amongst those who applied for the job.
‘We didn’t go into the targets in detail as the coach arrived only yesterday but will be meeting and discussing those. We will inform you of the specific targets and will be availing them to the media and public at large soon,‘ said Kamambo.
‘We had some other coaches who have taken us to Afcon, the coach must do better and if he goes to Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) he must surpass those even at youth level and world he must do well and come up with a roadmap to ensure we qualify. I have not gone into detail about that,’ said Kamambo
Croatian coach dismissed the allegations that he is nomadic saying he was never fired as Sudan national team coach but left after the expiry of his contract.
“The contract had expired in Sudan that why I left the job as national team coach. I was not fired. I never asked for my money and terminal benefits because of my personality, for example I brought them a lot of money from AFCON because we finished second, the lowest ranked team in CHAN and left after charming the people and everyone saying we played the nicest football there. At the end I reached the group stage, a big achievement for them,” he said.
‘Also, Sudan was in big economic crisis and money was a problem from the government to the federation. Some new people in the football association came and it was just the time to say goodbye and separated after shaking our hands,” said Lugarusic.
The nomadic coach says he has learnt from his past mistakes and will not repeat some decisions he made in the past.
“Before coming to Zimbabwe I checked the national team, ranking, the players and players play in the top clubs and countries all over. Maybe you put money first, It’s a good challenge players are between 24-30 and play in Europe and South Africa I am excited to start and I know I can do it,”
Asked what value he brings to Warriors after failing to coach back home especially Zimbabwe has qualified for AFCON four times before and its time to make a big impression and going to the group stages, he said with football have to mix to make it international.
‘I can bring some pieces which are missing from Zimbabwe and my experiences in Africa since I am here, I cannot teach them skill, dribbling or how to take a shot or cross the ball, but Africans are gifted the most. I believe African players are gifted because they play on the streets when growing up and have the skills, speed and got everything to make the grade as good footballers, I can improve their game without ball, technically and mentally if I can improve their game 10 % for one play and for 10 players, then I have an extra player.
“I hope to improve the Zimbabwe players in terms of tactics, improve their technique, confidence. I can improve team tactics, the result must be better, but as national team coach you don’t work like club coach every day from Monday, Thursday, Friday until match day.
‘I have only four days with international players they are professionals can I change their mentality, something here give them some tips that help them be bit better but to do those things need the support of the association, media and the supporters pulling together as one ,” said Logarusic.
“Some decisions were wrong and learnt from my previous decisions and mistakes but am not going to make them again, it’s been 10 years I have been coaching in Africa and each country is different from the other. I continue to learn with each assignment even though I qualified with eufa coaching licence some 20 years ago and been coaching in Africa for more than 10 years,” he said.
Asked about his philosophy, Logarusic said different regions of Africa have different players and structures but his philosophy for Zimbabwean football depends on players selected for the particular match.
‘Zimbabwean players are quick, skills and have good football age and for sure will get a thousand crosses but what I like to play is try to attack and an organised defence Zimbabwean players have skill, speed and can play five, six second and can score without difficulty.
‘The job for me is good but have been trying to improve the game tactically psychologically and confidence from which system or formation are we going play depends of the players selected to represent the country on the 25th of March, form of the day will determine who plays not which players last played for Zimbabwe in their previous match. All those players are educated and play somewhere in Europe or South Africa at least they passed through a lot of coaches and play good football which makes my job easier,” said the Croat.
The said he like to play mind games during interviews by foreign journalists and wants them to believe they are better than Zimbabwe.
‘I like to relax the opponents, we have the weapons and if I tell you are the favourite it doesn’t matter let’s wait for the game,’ said Logarusic
First assignment is against Algeria champions of Africa both at home and away Logarusic says his plan is to ensure team go four five days acclimatising and since they all professionals and play regularly for their teams he is praying nothing untoward happens including injuries with a few weeks to go.
‘We are going to compete and get a good result; we are going to give them respect yes but not too much respect. We are going to play and compete against the best team in Africa, Algeria.’
‘As a white to survive in Africa is very difficult, came here very serious enough, yes from my nomadic past have picked up something here and there to be a better coach. In three years. I have had good moments and bad moments too. For us to come to a different continent to coach is not easy yes we make mistakes here and there but that’s part of coaching life,’ he said .
The coach said maybe, its better he made those mistakes there and not here.