WARRIORS coach, Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic yesterday completed the familiarisation tour of the country which he used to assess players from some of the PSL clubs ahead of the announcement of the Total African Nations Championship (Chan) squad this week.
Zimbabwe were placed in a tough Group A alongside West African opponents in hosts Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso.
And in order to make any impact, the Warriors, who take on the hosts in the opening game on April 4, need proper preparations ahead of the competition specifically designed for players playing their trade in local leagues.
Logarusic, who spoke on his unveiling of his desire to have a 10-day camp to enable him and his assistant coaches to pick players for the Chan competition, wasted little time as he in the past week toured the provinces where he attended some of the PSL side’s training sessions.
The Croatian, who was in the company of Zifa technical director, Wilson Mutekede started by watching a new-look Dynamos as they intensify their pre-season preparations with some matches against some division one teams.
Logarusic then proceeded to Mhondoro where he watched Ngezi Platinum Stars going about their preparations and spent the weekend in Bulawayo where he also visited PSL and lower division clubs before returning to the capital.
The 55-year-old is now expected to meet his technical staff this week to discuss the selection of the squad for the Chan tournament.
“It was a familiarisation tour. I wanted to have an appreciation of local football and I think I achieved what I wanted,” Logarusic told the Daily News.
“It was about me going to them not them coming to me. We spoke on several things and I picked some lessons along the way. I also had an opportunity to watch some of the players in action. The thing is it’s still pre-season so it was not that competitive but it was nice.”
Coming up with the squad for Chan finals will be a headache for Logarusic and his technical team as the local league is off-season.
By the time the Chan tournament kicks off in April, the local Premiership would probably be in its infancy making them less fit for the competition.
The Warriors were, however, presented with a perfect opportunity to fine tune for the Chan tournament after Uganda proposed a three-team tournament that will also include Zambia.
Previously, poor preparations have negatively affected most national team performances ahead of big tournaments.
But in this case, the mini tournament with the Cranes and Chipolopolo will provide the Warriors a good platform to get in shape before the clash with Cameroon.
Logarusic was handed a two-year contract last month with the mandate to take the Warriors to 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament and his first assignment will be a mouth-watering back-to-back clash against African champions Algeria next month.
Apart from qualifying for the Afcon tournament to be held in Cameroon next January, Logarusic has also been given a mandate to lead the Warriors to the 2022 Qatar World Cup finals.
The Warriors are in Group G together with Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia with only the top team progressing to the final round of the qualifiers.Dynamos defender Partson Jaure is expected to lead a Warriors squad of locally-based players in Cameroon in April.