By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, has slammed some of the British Brigade for their questionable commitment to representing this country.
Although he didn’t reveal their identities, the Croatian said he will not work with players with divided loyalties.
He said three members of the British Brigade didn’t appear to have the full commitment to play for the Warriors.
“Warriors is just a nickname, anyway, Zimbabwe is giving you the options to represent this country, and you are doubting,’’ said Loga.
“If you are born in this country, you should respect this country.
“If your parents were born here you should make your parents proud and play. And, if you are not showing commitment for the country you are born in, or where your real parents come from, then you are not welcome.
“End of story!
“It’s not necessary to say the names. They didn’t show commitment and it’s the end of the story.
“We have Plan B and Plan C, that means we are ready for every solution. But let’s pray Plan A works.”
Loga said he was concerned about the travel arrangements of his foreign-based players following the second wave of coronavirus in Europe and America.
The Croat named a 24-member squad, led by Belgium-based skipper Knowledge Musona, for the back-to-back AFCON qualifiers against Algeria this month.
The Warriors are set to travel to North Africa for the first leg on November 12 in Algiers before returning home to the National Sports Stadium for the reverse fixture four days later.
Loga picked exactly half his squad from Europe and America after extending the call to Detroit City defender, Tendai Jirira, and goalkeeper, Tatenda Mkuruva, who returns to the Warriors set-up after three years in the wilderness.
English Championship sensation, Jordan Zemura, who made his senior debut for Bournemouth recently, Adam Chicksen of Notts County and Scotland-based David Moyo are also in the squad for the first time in the AFCON campaign.
Defender Tendayi Darikwa is also back after a long lay-off from injury.
While Loga was happy with his squad, which also has regular players from Europe like Musona, Teenage Hadabe, Marvelous Nakamba, Alec Mudimu, Marshal Munetsi and Tino Kadewere, the coach was unsettled by the news of the re-introduction of impending coronavirus lockdowns in many parts of Europe this week.
“We are facing some challenges that the team manager will explain later because of the Covid-19 situation and about the lockdowns we are facing right now in France, England, Belgium and even in the USA.
“We don’t know but, maybe, tomorrow they will decide to close the borders and things can change any time,” said Loga.
The second wave of Covid-19 has been reported across Europe and the United States.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown after the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million Covid-19 cases.
Johnson announced on Saturday the lockdown across England would kick in after midnight on Thursday and last until December 2.
Belgium announced a return to strict lockdown measures on Friday as cases of Covid-19 shot up.
The new measures are set to start today and stay in force for, at least, a month and a half.
The Warriors, who also include a bigger contingent from South Africa headlined by Kaizer Chiefs’ Khama Billiat and Kuda Mahachi of SuperSport United, are expected to go in camp starting this Friday.
The team is set to travel to Algeria using a charter flight, at least, two days before kick-off.
Most of the South Africa-based players will finish their games this coming Friday and will be the first to report for camp.
Defender Mudimu is likely to be the first player from Europe to report for duty the following day.
But players like Munetsi, Kadewere and Nakamba are only expected on November 10 as they have scheduled games next Sunday evening.
ZIFA learnt from their mistakes in the recent Malawi international friendly match debacle and this time sent invitation letters to all the clubs by October 17, at least, four weeks before the assignment.
However, Logarusic said it is not an ideal situation that he is likely to meet some of his foreign-based stars on the eve of the match against Algeria.
The Croat did not have the luxury of assessing his key players, during the last FIFA international break, after the majority failed to turn up due to poor planning by the local football authorities.
As a result, Loga has had to take in a lot of input from his assistants Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya.
“Those two boys have given me lots of information about players. Then, I spoke to every player,’’ he said.
“You know, I did speak about positions, what is his favourite position and how he feels if deployed in certain positions?
“So, I tried to pick up lots of information which can give me some picture of what we can do.
“It’s not an ideal situation, we know that means now we are coming to a situation where we will see players just the dinner before we play the game but we have to adapt ourselves and try to do the best that we can,” said Loga.
Dynamos’ King Nadolo is the only locally-based player in the squad while the likes of Tafadzwa Rusike and goalkeeper Talbert Shumba were rewarded for their strong showing during the recent international friendly match against Malawi.
Prince Dube was also recognised for his blistering start to life in Tanzania.
Loga defended the inclusion of midfielder Ovidy Karuru who has begun the South African Premiership unattached after being released by Stellenbosch.
Warriors squad for Algeria
Goalkeepers — Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka, SA), Talbert Shumba (Nkana, Zambia), Tatenda Mkuruva (Michigan Stars, USA)
Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana, Zambia), Alec Mudimu (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth, England), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Tendai Jirira (Detroit City, USA) Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows, SA), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest, England), Adam Chicksen (Notts County, England)
Midfielders — Marshal Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France), Ovidy Karuru (Unattached), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu, SA), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United, Zambia), Kuda Mahachi (Supersport, SA), Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen, Belgium), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates, SA), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa, England), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, SA)
Strikers — Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyon, France), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical, Scotland) Prince Dube (Azam, Tanzania). The Herald