Zimbabwe head coach Zdravko Logarušić says he’s blue-ticked and blocked the European-based stars on WhatsApp who ignored his international call-ups before qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Logarušić helped the Warriors oust Zambia to book their ticket to Cameroon without a host of their high-profile players with a 2-2 draw against champions Algeria, followed by the 1-0 win over Botswana in Group H.
Despite losing 2-0 at home to the Chipolopolo in the final group fixture, they had already secured qualification and the Croatian opened up about the lack of commitment from some of their overseas-based stars.
“The first time when I called up (international) players they ignored us, now it’s a different story (since qualifying for Afcon) but now my number is blocked,” he explained.
“We will see how things go but we can’t afford someone to play a game and choose when he wants to play next or simply ignore us (Zifa). I could not allow this, I must respect the country that gave me a job and nobody can play with this country and choose games.
“When I called those players in Europe, most of them ignored, not each time they are calling and they can’t reach me — but they are giving information (to Zifa) saying they can’t reach the coach.”
The 59-year-old went on to reveal that several players in the top two tiers of English football have reached out about the possibility of representing Zimbabwe.
Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson is said to have been on the radar of the Zimbabwe Football Associations (Zifa) which Logarušić feels should serve as a warning to the current crop who have not answered his calls before their success.
“We’ve had more surprises with players in England they’re showing interest to come (play for Zimbabwe) because we are coming closer and in 12 months they could have a chance of playing in the Fifa World Cup,” he said.
“It’s a possibility and of course all of them want to be part of this. Let’s see how things go, we’re not in a hurry to choose.
“How are you going to feel when you send (messages) from three numbers, Croatian number, Zimbabwean number and from the team manager number to request a conversation for the call-up and a time to talk about the potential to go to qualify for the World Cup.
“And then you see blue-tick (on WhatsApp), you try to call? Nothing. Now I see the same guys message me and I also let it become blue and then I block!” — KickOff.com