Report by Rusununguko Shone
ZDRAVKO Logarusic’s brutal assessment of the Warriors’ chances of winning the World Cup qualifiers group comprising of Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia drew the ire of an already enraged nation suffering from political, social and economic crisis.
The expatriate has endured a lot of flak from keen followers of local football for statements attributed to him to the effect that the Warriors’ best shot at playing in the 2022 World Cup finals is a second-place finish in Group G behind Ghana.
Whether he actually made the pronouncements or not is not the crust of the issue though.
Interpreting the statement as wholly negative is grossly misplaced and unnecessarily toxic for a nation that has not gone beyond the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) even during the expanded 2019 finals.
What have the Warriors achieved since qualifying for the 2004 AFCON finals?
If he indeed made the proclamations, Logarušic should be credited for challenging his team and most importantly, accepting reality that this underachieving nation cannot miraculously become competitive in World Cup football.
Remember Zimbabwe has, on four occasions, tried but failed to clear the AFCON Finals group stages hurdle against opponents on the continent.
Misconstruing Zambia coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s sentiments about Zambia’s potential as confidence is but what Zimbabweans have erroneously done in the past, (toxic negativity) virtually in every aspect of their lives.
With less than two months left before the African Nations Championship finals, Micho is assessing a minimum of 128 players to assemble a team for the tournament.
Does Logarušic have to do the same?
Grandstanding is not what will bring results for Micho, neither will it do any good for Logarušic. Kudos to the Croat for not falling into the trap.
How many times has Zimbabwe gone into tournaments being touted as dark horses only to perform dismally?
Can anyone present facts demonstrating any improvement in Zimbabwe’s competitiveness from the time the Warriors qualified for their maiden AFCON finals in 2004, 16 years back?
Mhofu’s team back then achieved what the 2019 crop couldn’t, despite the fact that football dynamics have since gone scientific, a phenomenon yet to be fully embraced by Zimbabwe’s football leadership.
Logarušic cannot be foolish to promise miracles to a people so great at beating a man when he is down because he is a realist. Why not take the stick from the onset for being honest?
This team has not exactly performed exceptionally in a long time. They struggled to beat Somalia over two legs and that exactly is a sign of how much work needs to be done to make them competitive.
If Logarušic had conceded defeat in a COSAFA tournament, then he would deserve everything that he has been getting. It is disappointing to read pedestrian articles by journalists like Michael Kariati and Robson Sharuko who have been writing for ages.
What Zimbabwe boasts of are passionate followers whom, despite the perennial disappointment by the senior football team, continue to hope for the best every time the team plays.
The real Achilles heel in this popular sport is, as Alois Bunjira rightly put it recently, ZIFA. The Zimbabwe Football Association makes it difficult for every football team to perform to its full potential by not providing proper support.
The error begins with the appointment of the back-room staff for a coach of the senior team.
To compare, like what Sharuko did with Sredojevic and Logarušic; Molefi Nseki the head coach of our group G opponents appointed his own assistant coaches.
This is not the only example in professional football where a coach was given the leeway to bring in his own deputies to help him produce desired results.
Who says the three local appointees will complement the expatriate head coach?
Interference comes in many obvious and subtle ways, and this is one catastrophic one.
Some Zimbabweans on social media dislike his first name Zdravko, some wanted someone else for the job, but he was the right pick among the many opportunists who petitioned for the Warriors job.
Logarušic called Zimbabwe for what it has been, a failure. Stagnation is what has been obtaining since the Warriors first played in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Only if you know the problem, will you begin to look for the solution. Overrated. That is what Zimbabwe has been over the years, but Zimbabweans want to stick the tag on South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.
Logarušic is the perfect man for the job, just for stating things as they are.
He should be the best person to shake things at ZIFA to make everyone in there more responsible in making sure that national teams are given resources to prepare for matches.