There is a new sheriff in town 

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THE locally-based Warriors, who were recently in camp for the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals, had not even had a chance to break a sweat before they learned things under the new coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic were going to be different.

 

Logarusic, who was handed a two-year contract by Zifa had requested for a 10-day camp to have a closer assessment of players ahead of the tournament which is designed specifically for players playing their trade in local leagues.

The tournament was scheduled for Cameroon next month but had to be postponed indefinitely owing to growing concerns of coronavirus (Covid-19) which has since been declared a global pandemic.

But before the camp was dissolved the Croat had done enough to at least give an insight on what to expect in the future.

Logarusic, a holder of Uefa Pro Licence and Caf A Licence started by laying the mark when he expelled Highlanders players from the squad after their club refused to release them.

Striker Prince Dube, goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and defender Peter Mudhuwa were part of the 30-man squad that was called into camp but with Highlanders preparing for the Castle Challenge Cup against FC Platinum, they refused to let their players go which did not go well with Loga.

When the practice started, Loga created a deep and affectionate bond with his players for all those days during the camp.

This was hugely evident when the Croat clashed with Zifa officials over the players’ camping allowances last week.

After the camp had to be discontinued due to the coronavirus outbreak, Loga demanded the association to pay the players their outstanding dues.

Over the years, Zifa has taken players for granted when it comes to remuneration and at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, Zimbabwe made the headlines for all the wrong reasons due to an industrial action.

Before the 2017 finals in Gabon, the Warriors stood up the then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and refused to attend a send-off dinner due to a payment dispute.

In all those incidents, the players were at the forefront of the confrontation with Zifa while the coaches remained largely in the background.

However, Loga is not the kind to go quiet when his players are unpaid and created a huge storm for the association.

The Warriors were supposed to break camp on Tuesday but the Croat ordered them to remain at their hotel until they got paid.

The following day, he took the entire squad to Zifa’s headquarters at 53 Livingston Avenue in the capital where he confronted the association’s CEO Joseph Mamutse.

It was a nasty confrontation for the meek Mamutse, who was at pains to explain how Zifa could not pay the players when they knew all along there was a Chan camp coming up.

Warriors assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya said Loga is a very empathic and caring human being, which many players admire about him.

“I think Loga is a nice guy with a nice character. He is very serious when it comes to his work and has professional approach really,” Ndiraya told the Daily News on Sunday of the rapport his boss has struck with the players.

When it comes to playing patterns, the Croat has a specific way he intends his team to adhere to and will not compromise on it.

“He has a way he wants his team to play. That’s what we have been working on during our time in camp with the Warriors. There is a system he wants his team to play and that’s what he has been hammering into the players,’ Ndiraya said.

“He is very strict disciplinarian; he wants his things followed timeously. He is very time conscious and that has really helped our boys. The first days when players came into camp it was a relaxed atmosphere; people with old habits but he had to crack the whip and make everyone fall into line.

“But he is a good character, very jovial, you can joke around but when it comes to his work the guy is very serious.”

Ndiraya continued: “I think in the beginning players were a bit nervous because they didn’t know what to expect from the coach. But he created an atmosphere that really made the players to feel at home, atmosphere that pushed players to start asking questions and that interaction was important in the last few days in the camp.

 

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