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Logarusic upbeat

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WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic says he is worried about the condition that his players will be in for the African Nations Championships (Chan) slated for next month.

BY HENRY MHARA

The tournament, organised exclusively for locally-based players, will kick-off on January 16 and end on February 7 in Cameroon.

It was originally set for April this year, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, Logarusic appeared to have everything under control as he was about to pick players who had just started the season.

And then, the unthinkable happened. The Chan finals were pushed back because of the coronavirus. Football around the world was paused, and while most leagues have since resumed, it is not the case with the local league.

This, the Croat conceded, is his biggest dilemma.

“The problem is that we are the only team going to Chan who doesn’t have a running league,” Logarusic said yesterday.

“In other countries they have either started the league or have just finished, but for us, we have nothing. For us, it is difficult to prepare players who didn’t play any competitive match this year. But that is the situation that we have and we have to try our best under the circumstances. I can assure the Zimbabwean football lovers that we will give it our 100%.

We are not going there to make up numbers so we are going there to compete,” he said.

Logarusic last week called 34 players to camp to prepare for the tournament, but has been forced to drop six FC Platinum players as the club is engaged in the Caf Champions League.

“We decided to leave them out because FC Platinum are representing Zimbabwe and if we take their players it will be really difficult for them to reach the group stages of the Caf Champions League. It is a big blow that we could not select them, but Zimbabwe is full of talent to pick from so we can’t really cry about it. We will give the other players a chance,” he said.

Zimbabwe is in Group A and will face the hosts, Cameroon, in the tournament opener before facing Burkina Faso and Mali in other group matches.

“The target is to represent Zimbabwe properly and try to pass the group stage. We will go game by game. The federation has invested money in us to go and represent the country, so we have to go and do the best we can. This is not the situation that we expected, but we cannot cry about it. We are Warriors, we can’t just surrender like that,” Logarusic said.

He added: “I have worked with the players in the past few days and I can see some of them have lost their touch and it is a challenge for me. This is a very uncomfortable situation, but we are trying our best. We will have to fix the situation using our experience and knowledge. In the three weeks that we have, we have to work on the fitness, the tactics and the technique. Can we do it, we will see,” he added.

Warriors squad
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi).
Defenders: Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (Dynamos), Valentine Musarurwa (Harare City), Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Frank Makarati (Ngezi), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders).
Midfielders: Juan Mutudza (Dynamos), Valentine Kadonzvo (Chicken Inn), Trevor Mavunga (Triangle), Phenias Bamusi (Caps), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Devon Chafa (Ngezi), Collins Duwa (Triangle), Tichaona Chipunza (Chicken Inn), Ishmael Wadi (Caps), Leeroy Mavunga (Caps), Nqobizitha Masuku (Highlanders), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos).
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Thomas Chideu (Harare City), William Manondo (Harare City)
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