Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CROATIAN Zdravko Logarusic will go down as the worst Zimbabwe national soccer team coach after failing to register a win in six matches (all competitions) that he has been in charge of with the Warriors.
Since his appointment, the Croat has drawn twice and lost four times.
Unveiled by Zifa as the Warriors coach in February last year, the Croatian, popularly known as Loga, hit a new low, becoming the first national team gaffer to return from the Caf African Nations Championship pointless.
In Cameroon, the Warriors lost the opening match 1-0 against the hosts, succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Burkina Faso and 1-0 to Mali.
The appearance at the delayed Chan 2020 edition, which was postponed to this year, was Zimbabwe’s fifth. In the last four qualifications, the Warriors managed to at least pick up a point.
In 2009, when Zimbabwe made its inaugural appearance at the tournament’s finals exclusively reserved for locally based players, the Warriors ended with three points from three draws.
Sunday Chidzambwa was in charge of the Warriors when they embarked on that sojourn in Cote d’Ivoire.
At the 2011 finals played in Sudan, the Warriors, then coached by Madinda Ndlovu, bowed out in the group stages just like in Cote d’Ivoire and amassed three points from one win and two defeats.
Ian Gorowa then led Zimbabwe to their best Chan finals in 2014, going past the group stage and managing a fourth place finish in South Africa.
Under Kallisto Pasuwa in 2016, the Warriors failed to go beyond the group stage, bowing out in the first round, but managed to get a point in three outings.
Loga might argue that lack of activity due to Covid-19 contributed to the bizarre showing, but the pandemic did not spare other nations, with Cameroon having last been active in May last year.
Blaming shoddy preparations is an argument that will not bring sympathy to Loga, as the nation expected results not excuses.
For the bizarre Cameroon outing, Loga has himself to blame alongside his support staff that allowed numerous changes of players while in camp.
To have a team ready for competitive assignments coming from “off-season”, it is said that a coach needs between six to eight weeks of preparation.
From the initial provisional squad that Loga had called up, he kept changing the squad after every friendly match played against local teams thereby affecting the momentum of his preparations.
Those continued changes wouldn’t have worked to his advantage.
There was no way Loga would have instilled his philosophy and come up with perfect combinations with his chopping and changing.
A lot had been expected from the expatriate who upon his appointment as the Warriors coach had said he was not lured by money, but the quality of players Zimbabwe has.
He had been expected to do better to spruce up his CV, but it seems the gods turned against him.
Did Zifa err by appointing Loga, who left Sudan in December 2019 when his contract was not renewed?
During his two year stint with Sudan, he led them to a third place finish at the 2018 Chan in Morocco‚ and to a spot in the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Loga has 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 with Simba.
But since Zifa said they had given Loga a performance-based contract, with such horrible statistics, the nation will expect Zifa to act accordingly seeing that most of Zimbabwe’s success has been brought by local coaches.
As a quick recap to Loga’s Warriors statistics, from the six games he has been in charge of, he has managed two points out of a possible 18. His side has scored four goals and conceded 10 times. – @ZililoR