By Alvin Madzivanzira
THE nation came out guns blazing on Zimbabwe senior men’s football team coach Zdravko Logarusic recently for the Warriors’ poor performance at the CHAN finals in Cameroon.
The performance by the national team is one of the poorest shows the Warriors have ever put at the continental football soccer showcase for players who ply their trade in domestic league across the continent.
Zimbabwe lost all the three group matches.
The first was a 0-1 loss to hosts Cameroon, before a 1-3 loss to Burkina Faso.
In the third match, Zimbabwe lost 0-1 to Mali.
The Warriors conceded five goals and scored once.
Zimbabwe were the first to exit the continental competition.
As a result, there was a barrage of attacks on the coach for poor performance by the side.
Several articles crucified the Croat for the dismal performance.
However, the condemnation seems to be one sided, considering what befell the team.
Therefore, playing the blame game, especially on the coach, is rather unfair and myopic.
There are a combination of factors that affected the national team which include the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the world, poor preparations and lack of a running domestic league.
COVID-19 presented a nightmare for the national team as they failed to camp for long and have the coach assess players before departing for the continental competition.
Limited camp worked against both the players and coach as there was poor bonding for the team.
Apart from that, there is no action on the domestic league and most players were not match-fit.
To add onto that, there was no meaningful opposition to gauge the team with as the domestic teams also had the same problems of fitness, therefore compromising the level of competition.
As a result, the team went to Cameroon poorly prepared.
In his defence, the Warriors gaffer said the plight of the national team was affected by lack of a running league.
“Without a running league, it was going to be difficult to get players in their top football condition as they spent the whole season without playing official football,” he said.
“Yes, they might have trained with their teams, but that was not adequate.
“Again, we got the green light to start training late.”
However, all being unequal for the national team, Loga has not won a single match in the six assignments he has been at the helm of the national team.
Four losses and two draws is what the Croat has managed for the flagship team.
Loga has been criticised for failing to last more than two years at his appointments and was under fire for negotiating another job while committed to the national team.
However, it might have been the poor administration that he has witnessed at ZIFA that made him to consider.
Under poor administration at any institution, workers tend to look elsewhere.
Zimbabwe, next month, play two crucial Africa Cup of Nations matches against Botswana and Zambia.
The Warriors will make a trip to Botswana for a match on March 22 before playing host to Zambia in a ‘Battle of Zambezi’ at home.
The three countries are vying for the second slot in the group after Mali qualified.
Zimbabwe have a good chance of making the grade, but with poor planning the chance may slip by.
Poor planning may start with sacking the coach and his technical team.
For now, the nation may need to make do with what is available and make sure that the national team gets all they need.
The national team coaching job has been a hot one in the country, with very few lasting.
All the reputable coaches have been sacked or failed in Zimbabwe at the helm of the national team.
Kalisto Pasuwa, Sunday Chidzambwa, Norman Mapeza, Joey Antipas and Rahman Gumbo are some of the locals who have coached the national team.
Zimbabwe also have a long list of foreign coaches who have coached the flagship team, but, one way or the other, they were shown the exit.
For now, Logarusic remains in charge… at least for now!