ZIFA, Loga’s dodgy deal
By Petros Kausiyo
Zdravko “Loga’’ Logarusic may have finally been axed for dragging the Warriors into the abyss but the Croatian coach continues to court controversy, with the dodgy contract he signed with ZIFA now the subject of intense scrutiny.
It has emerged that the contract between the 55-year-old gaffer and ZIFA was not performance-based.
Instead, it guaranteed him more than US$200 000 in salaries and perks during his short-lived tenure.
Loga was shown the exit door on Sunday as the ZIFA board buckled under incessant pressure from football fans.
Questions were raised on why football administrators were keen on retaining the coach, especially after the Warriors got off to a poor start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Loga, who arrived in Zimbabwe in February 2020 with questionable credentials, now leaves after scoring a number of firsts for the wrong reasons.
But, he will be smiling all the way to the bank, as he departs the country after raking in over US$120 000, as a golden handshake from the duplicitous contract he had with the association.
He is the first coach to retain his Warriors job despite going on a long, pathetic spell of one win in 14 games.
For his troubles, he is actually walking away with a golden handshake from ZIFA, which has, however, raised stink.
His contract, which ran from February 2020 up to Sunday, entitled him to an initial US$6 500 salary, which was raised to US$7 800 in his second year.
He also enjoyed some good perks that came with it.
A copy of the contract between ZIFA and Croat obtained by The Sunday Mail Sport shows how the gaffer, who frequently flew to his home country, was already living large well before he eventually got down to his coaching duties with an international friendly assignment away against Malawi on October 11, which ended 0-0.
Before he even touched down in Harare for his February 2020 unveiling by ZIFA, he was paid US$30 500 signing-on fees, with an additional US$6 100 being paid this year for the same purpose.
And, rather controversially, he became the first Warriors coach to be paid 10 percent of the US$550 000 of the Africa Cup of Nations qualification bonus, which translates to a cool US$55 000.
Not even the legendary Chidzambwa, who led the national team to two African Cup of Nations tournaments, including their maiden appearance in Tunisia in 2004, was paid for similar efforts.
As a winner of four of the Warriors’ COSAFA Cup titles in 2003, 2009, 2017 and 2018, Chidzambwa was never lavished the same way as Loga.
There will also be no money for Antipas despite the Chicken Inn coach’s role is setting the foundation for the Warriors to AFCON.
And the cherry on top for Loga is the US$20 000 that he will be paid as severance pay for getting the sack, since his contract was terminated before three months’ notice was given.
There are a lot of other ‘obscene’ entitlements that were also stitched into the contract.
Acting ZIFA vice president Philemon Machana defended the contract, claiming the Croat had managed to bargain for his package.
Machana, who is also ZIFA board member in charge of finance, challenged those alleging that the coach was sharing his dues with members of the executive to provide the evidence.
Loga contract, he added, should not be compared with contracts that were previously given to former coaches such as Sunday Chidzambwa and Joey Antipas.
“You don’t say, as an example, if someone comes in and bargains for a better package, you cannot return and say, ‘why are you giving my successor ten times more?’” he said.
“As ZIFA, we are open to constructive criticism, but it is bad when some people make unfounded claims that Loga was sharing his salary with board members without providing any evidence to substantiate that.
“People should not lie and just try to destroy other people’s characters for the sake of it; those with evidence of corruption must prove it.”
Ironically, Felton Kamambo’s board lost confidence in Loga’s predecessor Joey Antipas after just four matches in charge of the Warriors.
The Chicken Inn gaffer had begun his Warriors tenure with a 0-1 away defeat to Somalia in a World Cup preliminary round encounter before turning the tie around with a 3-1 home win.
He then picked four points via a 0-0 home draw against Botswana and a 2-1 away triumph over Zambia that would later prove to be the rock upon which the Warriors’ qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon was built.
Uproar over package
But Chidzambwa, the country’s most successful national coach, blamed the administration for “according expatriates the kind of luxuries that have never been granted to any local”.
“Since Independence we have never known anything called qualification bonus being paid out by ZIFA. I remember when we qualified for Egypt 2019, ZIFA president Kamambo (Felton) only made a pledge to say we will see how you can be rewarded for qualifying, but nothing materialised,” he said.
“What I have noticed though and which is very sad is that we have a huge problem of looking down on ourselves as Africans and, if anything, we actually frustrate our own coaches instead of providing a platform for them to succeed.
“If it is for a white man, those at ZIFA will run around to do everything possible, and it is a pity.”
The veteran coach said when the team was in Egypt, ZIFA deposited some of their dues in foreign currency accounts, but once the team returned home, the balance was paid in local currency at the ratio of one-to-one. He was also reportedly promised a car, which he never received.
Antipas was also complained at “being made to understand that ZIFA was struggling for resources’’ when he was not paid.
“It’s so very sad that despite being very patriotic, we don’t get paid.
All we have been saying to them is, ‘Give us our dues that we richly deserve.’
“We feel we are used as scapegoats most of the time. I am yet to be paid for the games against Botswana, which was a draw and the win in Zambia, and I have not had any engagement from ZIFA,” Antipas said. The Sunday Mail