Warriors get new coach
NEWLY-APPOINTED Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic is unfazed by the task that lies ahead after he was appointed to lead Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
The Croatian quickly highlighted the urgent need for local football to pull in one direction if the country is to realise its potential on the field.
Logarusic was handed a two-year contract with the mandate to take the Warriors to the 2022 Qatar World Cup and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournaments.
The 54-year-old, a holder of Uefa Pro Licence and Caf A Licence, took over from veteran gaffer Sunday Chidzambwa, who stepped down following a dismal performance at the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt.
While he was not prepared to give away much following his appointment, Logarusic said he was coming in with a mentality “to do much of the talking on the field of play”.
“I know a big challenge lies ahead of us. But I’m ready to come and start work. I’m very excited for the opportunity to be the coach of Zimbabwe,” Logarusic told the Daily News yesterday.
“We will have to talk on the field. We will need support from everyone my technical team, football association, media and supporters. We need to work together.”
Logarusic is being assisted by Joey Antipas, Lloyd Chitembwe, Tonderai Ndiraya while Parnell McKop will be the goalkeeper’s coach.
The Warriors have a busy year ahead starting with back-to-back 2021 Afcon qualifiers against reigning Africa champions Algeria in March.
Zimbabwe will travel to Blida for the first match on March 23 while the reverse fixture is scheduled for March 31 at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
The Warriors currently sit second in Group B with four points after their win over Zambia and the home draw with Botswana.
Algeria top the group with a 100 percent record while Botswana have a single point with Zambia bottom yet to register a point.
After those two matches, focus will now shift to 2020 Chan finals to be held in Cameroon starting April.
The Warriors qualified for the tournament solely reserved for local-based players and will be making a return after missing the 2018 edition in Morocco.
Zimbabwe will resume their 2021 Afcon qualifiers with a trip to face the Zebras in Botswana on June 9 before ending their group campaign with a home match against Chipolopolo on September 8.
From there on, the 2022 World Cup qualifiers will then commence with Zimbabwe getting their Group G campaign on October 5.
The Warriors were placed in a tough pool together with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Only the group winners will advance to the final qualifying round which means the Warriors have to be at the top of their game.
Logarusic believes he is up to the task and can help Zimbabwe make their mark in all these competitions due to his vast experience of coaching on the continent.
The Croatian recently left Sudan at the end of his two-year contract having led them to a third place finish at the 2018 Chan finals in Morocco and to the group phase of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers.
The 54-year-old has also managed Ghanaian clubs Asante Kotoko, King Faisal Babes and Ashanti Gold as well as Angola’s Interclube.
He has also spent time in east Africa at Kenyan clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as well as a spell in Tanzania at Simba.
“I always emphasise on the need to have proper preparations and that way we can achieve a lot together.
“For instance there is the World Cup, Chan and Afcon qualifiers coming soon and with meticulous preparations there is hope of bigger things ahead,” the Croatian told our sister newspaper the Daily News on Sunday earlier this month.
“I think I can do the job and I’m ready. Zimbabwe will not regret if I come to train their national side. I have done in Sudan, the least ranked team, but we created something special together and surprised a lot of people.
“I like new challenges and I never talk about money. I talk about the job and the results.
“It is the job that I want to do and make history together. What’s important is to work to ensure I improve players, individual tactics and group tactics.