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Loga set for reprieve

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BY HENRY MHARA

WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarušic is set to stay on at the helm of the team despite a poor run of results which has seen him winning one match in twelve attempts.

The Croat’s poor report card has left many football followers calling for cancellation of his contract, which has six months left.

Zifa’s technical and development committee met a week ago to review Logarušic and his technical bench’s performance.

The committee then forwarded its recommendations to the association’s executive committee which together with the emergency committee, have the power to pull the trigger on the coach.

The two committees are expected to meet this week to decide the trio’s fate, based on the recommendations that they received.

A source in the technical and development committee yesterday told NewsDay Sport that they were disappointed that Loga and his assistants failed to deliver as expected, but said there were some mitigating factors.

He said it is “grossly unfair” for the nation to squarely put the blame on the coaches for the team’s poor performance.

“We understand that most of the fans are angry because the Warriors is an emotional subject. We are as disappointed, but can we really put all the blame on the coaches for the team’s poor performance? They could have done better yes, but it will be grossly unfair on them,” the source said.

“There are a lot of factors that should be considered to see why the team performed so bad. People should remember that these guys hardly had their best squad for the Afcon qualifiers because of a number of reasons, chief among them COVID-19. It has been very hard for them to plan for a match or a tournament because it’s either the league is not running or the players can’t travel from their bases for an assignment. I know this is an emotional subject but we have to be truthful to ourselves,” he added.

Loga and his two assistants Tonderai Ndiraya and Lloyd Chitembwe, plus team manager Wellington Mupandare were each asked to give their submissions on the team’s poor show.

“We have to be logical in the way we deal with this situation.

Remember we have the World Cup qualifiers that starts in three weeks’ time. But that’s the nature of football the world over that when the team fails, it’s the coaches that take the flak. I’m just hoping that the decision that the executive will take is for the good of the team,” the source said.

Loga’s tenure since taking over has been beset by a number of problems. He has barely managed to assemble his strongest squad for an assignment.

The only time that Loga managed to call his strongest squad was in the two Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against African champions, Algeria.

The Warriors lost the away match 3-1 before forcing a 2-2 draw at the National Sports Stadium.

He was forced to travel to Botswana with a makeshift squad for the Afcon qualifying decider, but managed to grind a 1-0 win, a result that secured the team’s ticket to the finals set for January next year.

Loga then used an experimental squad for the dead-rubber match against Zambia and the team was beaten 2-0.

He also travelled to the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals in Cameroon with a team that had hardly trained together as the league was inactive due to COVID-19 restrictions. The camp was also interrupted after some positive cases were recorded among players. As a result, the team crashed out in the group stages.

It was the same story for the Cosafa Cup tournament that was recently played in South Africa where the team was booted out in the group stages.

His critics blamed the poor performance in the two tournaments on his poor selection of the squad.

Loga has often argued that he has delivered on the mandate given to him by his employers, ie qualifying to the Afcon finals. He is also mandated to qualify for the World Cup finals, whose qualifiers start in three weeks’ time.

The Warriors need to navigate a tough group comprising of Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia for them to reach the qualifying stage of next year’s World Cup finals.

Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara

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