BY HENRY MHARA
ZDRAVKO Logarušic’s tenure as head coach of the Warriors is set to end at the weekend when the Zifa board meets to review the team’s performance in the aftermath of two tepid displays in the World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Ethiopia.
Zimbabwe were lifeless in their Group G opening match of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying campaign where they were held to a goalless home draw by South Africa on Friday last week.
Things got worse, losing 1-0 against Ethiopia away in their second match, a result that left them anchoring the group with one point after two rounds of matches.
South Africa lead the pool standings with four points, while Ghana lie second with three, same as Ethiopia who are third.
There was public outcry from the team’s supporters following the two results, with many calling for Zifa to axe the Croat.
They could get their wish as early as tomorrow, with sources yesterday confiding to NewsDay that the association’s board led by Felton Kamambo were under immense pressure to act.
The Zifa board has previously stood behind Logarušic, who has six months still left on his contract.
But sources said the board was now desperate and will be forced to sack him because of the pressure being exerted by the supporters and stakeholders.
“We will meet either on Friday or Saturday to review the two matches. We will have to look at the legal implications before we make a decision, but there is a 90% chance that we will let him go,” a Zifa board member said yesterday.
Zifa reportedly has no clear favourite in mind to replace Logarušic should he be sacked.
“Loga has his shortcomings admittedly, but the team’s failure cannot be wholly-blamed on him. We know there were circumstances beyond his control that led to the team’s failure. The problem is that some people don’t want to be realistic to themselves about the whole situation. We have very powerful people, some who are in the media who are whipping the supporters’ emotions by throwing in some useless Chan [African Nations Championship] and Cosafa statistics against the coach. We all know why the team failed at Chan and the Cosafa.”
Zimbabwe crashed out of the January Chan tournament without a win. Chan is a tournament reserved for players playing in their domestic and since the local league was not running due to COVID-19, Zifa had applied to Confederation of African Football (Caf) to pull out of the last edition. However, the response came when the team had already arrived in Cameroon for the tournament.
Logarušic also failed to get the players he wanted for the Cosafa tournament in June because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. He ended up travelling with a makeshift squad, which also failed to go beyond the group stages.
Against South Africa and Ethiopia, Logarušic faced the same predicament as nine players including regulars Marvelous Nakamba, Teenage Hadebe and Tendai Darikwa were blocked by their clubs from travelling from their bases in England and United States due to the COVID-19 travel complications.
Out of the 11 starters that lined up against South Africa, only four had played competitive matches this season. The rest were either still in pre-season or warming the bench at their clubs.
“The truth of the matter is that this coach has been very unfortunate. And then we have some people who have an agenda. Unfortunately, the supporters have fallen for it. The decision that the board is going to make is just to please the supporters, nothing else.”
Zifa will have to find a replacement as soon as possible with back-to-back clashes against Ghana coming up a month from now. They will then play the reverse fixtures against South Africa and Ethiopia in November.
“Our worry is that we could be jumping from one fire to another,” the source said.
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