Loga still optimistic as Warriors draw
Zimbabwe 2 – 2 Malawi
By Eddie Chikamhi
It’s now 10 games for Zdravko Logarusic, as Warriors coach, just ONE victory, FOUR draws and FIVE defeats.
The Warriors have also scored seven goals, during that period, which is exactly half the number of goals, which they have conceded (14).
It could have been worse yesterday, with Loga’s men being forced to erase a two-goal deficit, to force a share of the spoils, in this Cosafa Cup match against Malawi in Port Elizabeth.
In the end, they just managed to maintain their 17-match unbeaten record, in the regional tournament.
Of course, Loga once again chose to sing his favourite song, about being forced to field players who haven’t been playing regular football, back home.
But, even when he has fielded those who have been playing regularly, like in the Afcon qualifiers, something just doesn’t feel right, with his team.
‘’Just go back home @ZLogarusic,’’ tweeted Chronicle Senior Sports Reporter, Sikhumbuzo Moyo. ‘’Enough is enough.’’
Warriors captain, Ovidy Karuru, who was voted man-of-the-match yesterday, following an afternoon of toil, appeared distraught, at the post-match interview.
Two second-half goals from Ben Musaka, and Blessing Sarupinda, helped the Warriors save their 17-match unbeaten run, in the competition.
However, for the second match running, they were awful and, for long periods, during this match, they looked like a loose collection of players, rather than a national team.
The Warriors found themselves trailing by two goals, after Khuda Myaba and Schumacher Kuwali, put the Flames in the driving seat, with 50 minutes played.
Karuru had a good opportunity to win the game for his team, late on, but he scooped his effort over the crossbar, from close range.
It was a very poor miss, especially from a player of his experience and talent, and he knows that should have given his team a victory that would have masked their shortcomings.
“I cannot be happy to win the man-of-the-match, without winning the game, because we came here to win the games, not to draw,’’ Karuru said.
‘’I am disappointed because we cannot go two games without a win. We came here to win the tournament, not to add the numbers.
“I think we created quite a number of chances but we didn’t take them home. I think we have been doing good in training and we have been pushing to score goals.
“But, I am happy with the attack because we created a lot of chances, which is good for us.
‘’It’s the name of the game, you win some, draw some and you lose some. We take the point home.’’
Zimbabwe dominated the early exchanges but the tide shifted against them when Myaba beat goalkeeper, Washington Arubi, with a snapshot after he was given room, inside the box, on 27 minutes.
Kuwali then added to Zimbabwe’s misery when he raced through on goal and slid the ball past the badly exposed goalkeeper.
However, Loga’s men kept the game alive when Sarupinda reduced the arrears, guiding the ball home from close range, with just over an hour played.
Musaka then restored parity with a ferocious strike, after he was teed up by Karuru, from a set piece, taken just outside the penalty box.
Zimbabwe is still to win a match at the tournament.
They opened their campaign with a goalless draw against Mozambique on Wednesday and now have two points from two games.
The Warriors will play 2015 champions Namibia on Sunday before concluding their group campaign with a clash against guest nation, Senegal, on Tuesday.
Loga, however, is still hopeful of finishing among the top two to qualify for the semi-finals.
The Croatian coach, who on most occasions has been found wanting, said the team failed to perform to his expectations, because of the Changes made yesterday.
“The point is we were two goals down, after we tried to Change some players, and the system of play,’’ he said.
‘’Of course, I am not 50 percent happy or 70 percent, but I am happy we didn’t lose because we were two goals down.
“Anyway, we still have two more games. We are going to play, I think maybe, against much harder opponents than the first two.
‘’Then, let’s show who we are. If we want to go far, we have to face Namibia, we have to face Senegal, and see how things go.
‘’I am still optimistic, no reason not to be.”
Loga made four Changes yesterday with Dynamos forward King Nadolo, defender MacClive Phiri and midfielders Musaka and Richard Hachiro getting starting places.
“Things will be okay. I am still optimistic. Most of the boys have played no more than five international games, except those three or four older boys (Karuru, Arubi, Qadr Amini and Jimmy Dzingai).
“They are picking up experience, we are preparing our team for the next Chan qualification.
‘’We finished with seven players from the local league which we didn’t play from November 2019.
‘’I think they performed well because they played five games in the last two years.”
Zimbabwe: W. Arubi, L. Mucheto, Q. Amini (A. Mbeba, 47th min), J. Dzingai, C. Mavhurume, M. Phiri (S. Nyahwa, 46th min), B. Sarupinda (D. Murimba, 71st min), R. Hachiro, B. Musaka (B. Banda, 86th min), O. Karuru, K. Nadolo (F. Matare, 46th min)
Malawi: E. Kakhobwe, S. Sanudi, D. Chembezi, C. Chirwa, C. Idana (M. Mkwate, 74th min), K. Myaba, M. Sulumba, M. Fodya, N. Nyasulu, S. Kuwali (M. Mhone, 73rd min), V. Kumwenda. The Chronicle