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Loga hopes to revive local players

By Tadious Manyepo

Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic says his technical team will have to work hard in recalibrating the players who have significantly lost their touch during a lengthy break as the squad intensify their preparations ahead of the Chan finals scheduled for next month in Cameroon.

WHAT A CHARACTER . . .Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, shows his boundless joy at the National Sports Stadium yesterday after his team produced a comeback for the ages to force a 2-2 draw against African champions, Algeria, in an AFCON qualifier. – Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda
WHAT A CHARACTER . . .Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, shows his boundless joy at the National Sports Stadium after his team produced a comeback for the ages to force a 2-2 draw against African champions, Algeria, in an AFCON qualifier. – Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Loga last week named a 34-member provisional squad who began camp, minus the three FC Platinum players, in Harare on Monday.

The Chan tournament, exclusively designed for players plying their trade in their respective domestic leagues, runs between January 16-February 7 in Cameroon next year.

The biannual fiesta was originally scheduled to run between April 4-25 this year before it was swept away by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The same pandemic forced the domestic league to a stop before it even commenced back in March and up to now there has not been any competitive football taking place despite the fact that top-flight football has been given the permission to commence in a bio-secure environment in line with Covid-19 protocols.

A mini-tournament had been proposed but it is looking increasingly unlikely as the year heads to its conclusion.

And Loga is a worried man with players who have not played competitive football for the past 11 months at his disposal ahead of a tournament that is four weeks away.

But the Croat tactician remains confident his team can be improved and give a good showing in Cameroon.

“Probably we will be the only nation at Chan which hasn’t got a competitive league, the league hasn’t started. That means we have a very big disadvantage,” said Loga.

“We have players who haven’t even touched a ball in the past 11 months and of course for sure most of the players have lost touch.

“In that space they have lost most of those key aspects of their game. If you are not active nine, 10 months it means you lose everything.

“We have three weeks of preparation and for three weeks to prepare someone who hasn’t played football for so long, it’s a big challenge.

“But, anyway we are Warriors, we do not easily give up. We will try our best in the next three weeks. I will try my best together with my national team.

“I don’t surrender easily. We are going to put everything at training and leave everything on the pitch during the tournament. When people watch us play at Chan next year, they will see that we will be putting more than 100 per cent in every match that we are going to play.

“Now, no one can take us seriously because our league is not active. But, we are preparing ourselves, we are working hard, it’s not easy and we have to do what we are supposed to be doing.”

Loga said he had to drop some of the players he had selected for the same tournament back in March to give others a chance after his 10 training sessions he had with the initial squad gave him a hint of their capacity.

“When I selected the team for the Chan finals early this year before it was shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had 33 players and we conducted 10 training sessions. We selected maybe 16 or 17 who have the capacity. Now we have called other players and we will make another selection to make them 23 but we have not called those from FC Platinum because we would like them to concentrate on the Caf Champions League.

“We want Zimbabwe football to make progress and for the moment it means I do not have the best squad I would have wanted. We are working, we are trying and we do not give up and we will as well try to talk on the field.

“We will try not to disappoint the country, trust me, trust the players and I would like to call for support of the media.

“We have a big disadvantage when you look at other teams but we are the Warriors, if it’s 100 against one, still one Warrior will go against 100.” The Chronicle

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