By Tadious Manyepo
Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, says he picked some positives in his team’s 2021 AFCON qualifier loss to Zambia at the National Sports Stadium on Monday night.
The hosts lost 0-2 after Loga threw in most of his fringe players.
He rested all but three players, who started the penultimate round qualifier against Botswana in Francistown, last week.
“In as much as we wanted to win the match, we were not under much pressure and we decided to give some players a chance to prove themselves, at a bigger stage,” said Loga.
“As much as we wanted to win the match, against Zambia, there were so many factors at play.
“About five of my regular players were sitting on yellow cards and I wouldn’t risk them getting booked again, and miss the opening match, of the AFCON finals.
“Some of them, like Terrence (Dzvukamanja), were carrying some knocks and we couldn’t risk aggravating those injuries.
“Still, we had 22 players in camp and we wanted to make sure that each of them got a chance to show what they are capable of doing.
“We have had so many players, coming as far afield as Asia, and not getting a chance to play.
“Others have shown a lot of commitment, in representing the country but due to the pressure associated with games which we have played in the past, they couldn’t get a chance.
“So, the Zambia game was ideal for them given it would be a tense encounter for them to show whether they are now ready for the big occasion.”
Loga indicated that there were some players who impressed him despite the loss.
“There was definitely no need for any of them to be nervous,’’ he said.
“This is the highest level in professional football and you can’t expect a player, at national team level, to be jittery.
“But, some showed nerves and you can feel for them. Some of them played well and we picked a lot of positives from that game.
“The point was to give each of the players a chance, to make a case for himself, in a pressure game.
“And, did they prove their worth?
“Yes, some did and some didn’t.
“The essence is to build a strong national team, capable of competing against stronger opponents.
“So, some of the players are absolutely good and we can have them in the team, going forward.
“We want the best for the country and the best can come when everyone is given an opportunity to prove that they can, as well, represent the national team.
“It’s that simple, I call you, you come and you should have a chance and we see if you can represent the nation or not.” The Herald