Why ZIFA fired hopeless Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic

Why ZIFA fired hopeless Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic. The writing has been on the wall for Loga, since the Warriors suffered a humiliating 0-1 defeat in Ethiopia, in a 2022 World Cup qualifier, last week.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo said they were forced to fire Zdravko Logarusic, after the under-fire Croatian, probably the worst coach to take charge of the Warriors, failed to meet a revised set of targets.

Yesterday, the ZIFA board finally bowed to the demands of fans, and pundits, and parted company with Loga, who leaves with a miserable record of just one win, in 14 matches, in charge of the Warriors.

Loga’s assistant coaches, Tonderai Ndiraya, Lloyd Chitembwe, Benjani Mwaruwari and Tembo Chuma, were also swept away by the tide. Benjani was only recruited a few weeks ago and featured in two World Cup matches, against Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia, and reports last night indicated he will be considered, in the next technical team.

Team manager, Wellington Mpandare, has a different contract, as his role in the side is linked to his position as the general manager of all national teams, at ZIFA. This helped him survive the axe.

Kamambo, who chaired a full ZIFA board meeting in Harare yesterday, where the decision to dismiss the Loga, and his assistants was reached, told The Herald they could not just stand and watch the Warriors slide down a slippery slope.

Apparently, Loga had been told to pick, at least four points, from the first two World Cup qualifiers. Zimbabwe could only manage one point at home, against an experimental Bafana Bafana side, before they slumped to a 0-1 defeat to Ethiopia, who are the worst-ranked team, in the group.

“This board meeting (yesterday) was a follow-up to the one that we held two weeks ago,’’ said Kamambo. “It was mainly to focus on the performance of the national team, in as far as the World Cup qualifiers, are concerned. “And, from the discussions on the performance of the team, we ended up mutually agreeing with the coach to part ways.’’

Kamambo said they looked at all the legal complications, which might rise from their decision, and agreed with the coach that they will pay a settlement fee, for the premature contract termination, to avoid problems encountered with past expatriate coaches like Valinhos and Tom Saintfeit.

“The agreement is with immediate effect and the coach will be in the country, up until the end of the month, that’s what we agreed with him,’’ said Kamambo. “In terms of the packages that he is supposed to get, we have also agreed and this will be paid before the end of next week.’’

ZIFA had come under intense pressure, for giving Loga the long rope, after suggestions were made to review his contract, following his dismal run at the CHAN and COSAFA Cup.

The Croatian maintained his mandate had been the World Cup and AFCON matches. Despite helping the Warriors over the line, in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers, he contributed only four points, from a possible 12, with the other four points coming from the opening two matches, when Joey Antipas was in charge.

“In as far as we are concerned we did not take too long to fire the coach. He had some targets that he was supposed to achieve,’’ said Kamambo. “In our last meeting, some two weeks ago, we gave him a target to get six points, against South Africa and Ethiopia.

“The minimum acceptable was four points and he failed to get the four points, so, we mutually agreed on parting ways.’’ A new interim technical department will be named this week. “We have some names that have been proposed. The technical committee is busy with getting in touch with the proposed names.

“We have given them up to tomorrow (today), to come up with the name of a coach, and the announcement will be made tomorrow (today) or Tuesday. “We are going to employ this coach, on an interim basis so that an advert will be (flighted) for a permanent coach. “The best coach, who performs well in the interview, will be appointed.’’

Loga, who looked upset with the decision, had caused sharp divisions within the ZIFA board, and the broader football community, after he reduced the Warriors to punching bags on the continent, in the last 18 months.

The 55-year-old coach presided over the Warriors worst run, in history, and it remains a mystery how he managed to stay in charge, despite the depressing statistics. The gaffer, who still had five months running on his contract, had a miserable run as Zimbabwe coach, after winning only one game, in 14 outings.

The association’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said a new interim technical team will be put in place this week to begin preparations for the Warriors’ back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Ghana next month.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that it has amicably parted ways with Senior Men’s team coach Zdravko Logarusic.

“The decision was arrived at upon consideration by the full Executive Committee of all the various relevant circumstances pertaining to the coach’s contract. “The entire technical team has also been disbanded.

“The appointment of the interim technical team shall be announced in due course as the Executive Committee has already set in motion the process,” said Gwesela. ZIFA board member Sugar Chagonda, who was head of delegation to Ethiopia, set the tone ahead of yesterday’s meeting when he wrote to Kamambo, last week, stressing that Loga had become a liability.

Loga’s record as Warriors coach:

•14 Games

•1 Win

•8 Defeats

•5 Draws

•8 goals scored

•19 goals conceded

•Winless in the last 7 games

Source – The Herald

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