Visa debacle: ZIFA to blame

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ZIMBABWE Football Association (ZIFA) should shoulder the blame for the embarrassing reception accorded the Warriors coach at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, on Monday and the subsequent consequences.

Zdravko Logarusic was barred from entering South Africa for the COSAFA Cup because he didn’t have a visa.

Croatians are expected to have a visa for them to be allowed to enter SA.

It was incumbent upon ZIFA to do some background checks on the requirements  for entry into SA for their foreign coach.

A mere click on Google would have done the trick to avoid this embarrassment.

They would then have known that only service and diplomatic holders from Croatia were exempt from being in possession of an SA visa.

ZIFA have conveniently found a scapegoat in the form of a travel agent.

But there are many travel agents.

And this particular one was the exclusive choice of no one else but ZIFA.

So that’s your baby ZIFA.

In the same way, ZIFA have the sole responsibility to choose the national coach.

If they choose a poor coach and our national football teams do badly, the blame will lie squarely on ZIFA. 

That’s where the buck stops.

A question for another day would be who was this agent?

Not only that.

But we would also be interested in finding out the criteria used, to pick this not-so-efficient agent among so many others.

How much were they paid? 

ZIFA must not get us wrong for this apparent inquisition and think we are trying to expose skeletons in their closet. 

However, after such a national disaster, ZIFA have to be taken to task. 

As we have already pointed out, the boob by the travel agent could have been avoided, if in the first instance, ZIFA had done their homework.

This should be a good lesson for the football mother body in their future operations, which go beyond travel arrangements.  

What happened at OR Tambo International Airpot is a national embarrassment thrust upon Zimbabwe as a country and not an incompetent travel agent.

And the country has entrusted the running of its football in the hands of ZIFA.

Thus ZIFA should accept not only praise but also blame for their mismanagement of this popular sport.

The visa gaffe cost the Warriors substantial training time with their coach for the regional COSAFA Cup . 

If we do badly in this tournament — let’s hope we won’t — the coach could very well cite this as the cause.

We must not give this affable Croat any more reasons for failure.

Remember the CHAN debacle in Cameroon.

Here, the Warriors, under the guidance of Loga, performed dismally as they lost all the five games they participated in.

The coach gave the over-one-year of inactivity, because of the enforced COVID-19 break, as the reason for the Warriors’ failure. 

Because of the room for excuses, it is very difficult to give a fair assessment of the coaching calibre of this Croatian gentleman. 

Some would like to give him credit for qualifying for the AFCON final by beating Botswana away.

However, others would argue that half the job had been done by Joey Antipas, who beat our eternal foe, Zambia, in their own backyard.

After the visa debacle, which Loga may use as an excuse if he fails, ZIFA must take note.

With the World Cup games pending, ZIFA must give fans a chance to assess Loga on an even ground.

He must not be given another chance to look for excuses for possible poor performance.

Meanwhile, we wish the Warriors good luck as they battle with other regional teams to win another COSAFA tournament.

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