Loga moots walking away from Warriors

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Nigel Matongorere 

SPORTS EDITOR

matongoreren@dailynews.co.zw

TEMPERS reached boiling point yesterday when Warriors coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic threatened to walk away from the team due to Zifa’s shambolic preparations for the friendly international against Malawi.

The Daily News has consistently hammered the point home that Zifa needs to improve how they plan for important assignments like Sunday’s preparatory match against the Flames at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

The Warriors are supposed to use Sunday’s match as a preparatory encounter ahead of the resumption of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H back-to-back qualifiers against Algeria next month. 

As of yesterday, there was still no official team list and a concrete itinerary for how the team would travel to Blantyre.

Initially, Loga had drawn up a 17-man squad list for the encounter but Zifa sent the invitation letters for the players late to their clubs.

This resulted in a number of withdrawals as most of those players called up by the Croat are not able to make the trip to Blantyre.

This infuriated Loga, who only arrived in Harare on Monday afternoon from Croatia, as he felt there was probably some people inside the association working to destabilise his work.

In a last-ditch effort to save Sunday’s game and cool down tempers, Zifa officials managed to convince the 54-year-old to select a squad made up mainly of local players.

The team is now scheduled to leave for Blantyre on Friday by road while a handful of European- and South Africa-based players will fly directly to the match venue.

But Sunday’s game is now totally meaningless since most of the players will not be in Loga’s plans for the two matches against Algeria next month.

Loga’s agent Robert Moutsinga said his client was remaining in situ despite yesterday’s drama but castigated Zifa for their unprofessional behaviour and lack of proper structures.         

“My coach wants to build a team that brings results and help change the mentality of football in Zimbabwe.   

“Your federation needs to improve on logistics because Loga wants to work and nothing else. Zifa needs to respect the coach and help him because he only wants good things for you guys.

“He wanted his squad in place and it was the FA’s duty to ensure that all his players were available,” Moutsinga told the Daily News from Johannesburg, South Africa last night.      

One of the reasons why the preparations for the Malawi game have been shambolic is because Zifa is yet to appoint a team manager for the Warriors.

This individual coordinates all the national team call-ups and its travel arrangements.       

“In football you need to have proper logistics to succeed. Khama Billiat is a top player; do you think Kaizer Chiefs would allow him to leave for national duty without knowing what the logistics are going to be?

“Why does your FA not have a logistics manager to handle all this planning? Surely all the 204 FAs in the world have money they got from Fifa and Caf so you cannot tell me it is because of a funding challenge.

“If they are failing to find someone to do the job, I’m prepared to work for them as a volunteer and do the logistics.

“I have done it before when I represented Zifa at the Chan draw in Cameroon when they couldn’t send anyone. Zimbabwe would have been fined heavily but I stepped in to help the situation,” Moutsinga said. 

Meanwhile, FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh was also left fuming after it emerged Zifa called up two of his players — striker Stanley Ngala and utility star Ralph Kawondera for the Malawi game.

“First, the coach of the national team says I will not select players from the local league because they haven’t trained for too long. 

“The Zimbabwean players in Europe are not coming. Today, our striker is selected for the national team without kicking a ball for seven months, is this a joke?” the Dutchman wrote in a post on Twitter that he later deleted.

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