Loga left in limbo. . . as coronavirus confusion grips Algeria trip

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WARRIORS coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic is concerned at the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier against Algeria due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Zimbabwe is supposed to travel to Blida to take on the reigning African champions on March 26 but a cloud hangs over that encounter as Algeria has recorded 20 cases of the deadly epidemic thus far.

At least 17 cases out of 20 in the North African country have all been reported in Blida, which has heightened the fears surrounding the fixture.

Both teams are facing difficulty in securing players for the fixture since most of their European clubs are unwilling to let their stars travel to Algeria.

The Federation of Algeria Football (Faf) has proposed having the match played in an empty stadium and the possibility of moving the game to Algiers at the Stade July 5 where there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Algeria president also announced a decree which forbids all public gatherings, including football matches.

Matches in the country’s entire leagues will now have to be played in empty stadia to curb the spread of the disease.
The coronavirus has caused havoc in world football with all Serie A games in Italy cancelled until April 3 and Ligue 1 games in France now being played behind closed doors.

The English Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium scheduled for last night was postponed.

With all of this going on, Logarusic has been left in a difficult situation on how to plan for the game and what might happen in the future.

“The point is that no one knows what is going on, maybe tomorrow there will be a decision that we will not be playing in Algeria; we don’t know anything at the moment.

“There is a possibility the game will not go on at all because they are going to stop all games like in Italy; we don’t know what will happen but we have to prepare ourselves,” Logarusic told the Daily News.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has not pronounced itself regarding the forthcoming qualifiers except for a statement last week which said they were monitoring the situation.

Logarusic is fully aware that all his star players from Europe including captain Knowledge Musona, Marvelous Nakamba, Macauley Bonne and Alec Mudimu might not make the trip to Algeria.

“But again, I’m not looking for excuses because we have to produce results but look, we will only have three training sessions in Algeria because most of the players will come directly there, if they come.

“There is a possibility that all of our players in Europe will not come because if they enter Algeria, they must go into quarantine for 14 days when they return to their clubs.

“We still do not know; are we going to play the game, where are we going to play the game and who will come for the game.

“Day by day will make the situation clear for us; our wishes are one thing but in the next few days it will be a different story,” the Croat said.

The confusion caused by the coronavirus has also seen Logarusic unable to announce his roster for the game.

“We have already finalised the squad and we are just checking with the players from outside.

“We have about 20 players on the list and all we are doing is just checking who will come and who will not come. We made the list maybe five or six days ago,” he said.

Nigel Matongorere



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