BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
WARRIORS Coach Zdravko Logarusic (pictured) flew back into the country yesterday to get down to business ahead of an international friendly match against the Flames of Malawi on Sunday.
The Croatian had returned to his native home after the Zimbabwe government imposed a national lockdown in March in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
His first assignment as coach was supposed to be with the home-based players who were preparing for the 2020 African Nations Championships which had been scheduled for Cameroon in April, but the tournament was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The expatriate coach is likely to finally preside over the Warriors for the first time when he leads them against Malawi.
Loga wants to use the match against Malawi as a dress rehearsal ahead of the back-to-back 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against reigning African champions — the Desert Foxes of Algeria.
The trip to Malawi had by yesterday not yet been approved by the government. Zifa had approached the authorities for a special waiver to allow the team to travel to Malawi and also enable Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum to participate in the African Champions League next month.
In the event that the government greenlights the Malawi trip as is anticipated, the 54-year-old coach is likely to travel with a severely depleted squad due to a variety of reasons, which include the late dispatch of invitation letters to some of the players.
France-based striker Tino Kadewere, Tendai Darikwa and Macauley Bonne (England) and Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates) are some of the players who might not be able to make the trip.
Lyon are not keen to release Kadewere because they gave him compassionate leave when his brother passed away a little over a month ago while Darikwa is said to have lost his travel documents during the pre-season period.
It is understood that Bonne’s invitation letter was sent to Charlton Athletic before he completed his move to Queens Park Rangers on Friday and Zifa were still trying to communicate with his new club.
South African football giants Orlando Pirates are also reluctant to release new signing Dzvukamanja, who joined the club recently.
The Warriors coach, who has been banking on Europe-based players as home-based players have been inactive, as well as those based in South Africa and Zambia, is expected to name a 17-man squad to face Malawi.
This situation is likely to force the Warriors gaffer to consider other players including Jordan Zemura of English Championship side Bournemouth and Scotland-based striker David Moyo.
Victor Kamhuka, who plays in Myanmar, Young Warriors midfielder Abubakar Moffat, who plies his trade in Spain, as well as the duo of Nicholas Guyo and Kundai Mukweva might also be given a chance should some of the key players fail to show up.
Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba, Alec Mudimu, based in Moldova, Marshall Munetsi in France as well as captain Knowledge Musona, and Teenage Hadebe are expected to be part of the team, while Tanzania-based striker Prince Dube who has been making waves since joining the side recently, is also set to make the trip together with Admiral Muskwe and Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.