WARRIORS coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic has been forced to call in players mostly from South Africa’s DStv Premiership after most Europe-based stars pulled out of the friendly international against Malawi.
The Warriors are scheduled to take on the Flames this Sunday at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre as part of their preparations for November’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifiers against Algeria.
However, due to poor planning by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) all of Loga’s plans for the friendly against the Flames have had to change drastically.
The association, which is still searching for a team manager for over a year now, sent call-up letters to clubs late.
With coronavirus (Covid-19) still prevalent across reluctant to release their players and will not attract any sanctions from Fifa.
In fact, there is a high possibility that Sunday’s match might fail to take place since Zifa were by yesterday still frantically running around to secure a squad.
This comes as all of Loga’s targets — Macauley Bonne, Prince Dube, Tendayi Darikwa, Jordan Zemura, Marvelous Nakamba and Terrence Dzvukamanja — pulled out of the friendly international.
Just four days before the game is scheduled to kick-off, Zifa were yet to name an official squad and the travelling arrangements for the encounter.
“There have been some changes to the squad due to circumstances beyond our control. We will definitely reveal the squad tomorrow (today) by midday.
“The team’s travelling arrangements will also be revealed when we make the squad announcement,” Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told the Daily News yesterday.
With a lot of uncertainty regarding the trip, Loga has now been forced to make a U-turn on his earlier proclamation that he would not require Super Diski players for the Malawi encounter.
“We called most of our players from Europe because in South Africa for the past three weeks there are no competitive games, they are on off season.
“The other reason is that I want to have a look at players from Europe; the ones in South Africa we know them.
“As a result, I have only called 17 players because I don’t want to bring in players who will not play since we are limited on the substitutions,” Loga told the Daily News before he returned to Harare on Monday.
It is going to be interesting to see whether the Super Diski clubs will release and allow their players to travel to Blantyre for Sunday’s match.
Most DStv Premiership teams returned to training this week while a handful began their pre-season training last week.
This means that the Warriors players in the Super Diski are still in the loading phase of their pre-season training and will not be in a position to take part in a competitive friendly international.
Loga also does not have the luxury of using local-based players for the encounter since the domestic league is currently in hibernation due to Covid-19.
Local teams have not trained since March after the government banned all sporting activities in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
The importance of Sunday’s game is increasingly depreciating with each passing day due to Zifa’s shortcomings.
The purpose of the friendly international was for Loga and his team to gear up for the back-to-back encounters against the Desert Foxes.
However, at this rate most of the players that are likely to be in contention for selection for those two matches will not feature against the Flames on Sunday.