If it wasn’t for the Covid-19 regulations still being enforced in the county, Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic would have seen livid football fans demanding answers at the RGM International Airport on Friday.
By Lawrence Mangenje
The country’s senior men’s national soccer team touched down in Harare after succumbing to a 1-3 defeat to Algeria, a flattering scoreline for the Desert Foxes as Zimbabwe dominated the second half, created chances and perhaps the story could have been different had the visitors been clinical in front of goal.
Some of the decisions the coach made before and during the game were not only questioned but also fingered for its eventual outcome.
Logarusic’s choice to start Ovidy Karuru in midfield considering the former AmaZulu man’s lack of match fitness, was arguably the second most discussed issue on social media on Thursday night- second to socialite Genius Kadungure’s funeral.
For a game of that magnitude, it came as a big surprise that Karuru, who last kicked a ball three months ago following his divorce with Cape Town-based DStv Premiership side Stellenbosch, was thrown into the fray with no hesitation whatsoever by the Croat.
His choice to not involve on-fire Prince Dube at any point during the match remains a mystery considering the striker’s rich vein of form in the Tanzanian Premier League.
Of course it was inevitable and justifiable that Tino Kadewere started, but for Dube to not have any minutes the entire game was a strange decision.
Equally strange is the excuse Logarusic gave for that.
“You know Prince (Dube) is in form but put yourself in my position. You have Khama (Billiat), Knowledge (Musona), Tino (Kadewere) there…
“Definitely his (Prince’s) chance will come.
“You also have David Moyo so, if you are to be realistic, we have five for the same position, and all those are playing in bigger leagues and they are doing well,” he was quoted as saying by The Herald.
None of the people ‘doing well’ mentioned there have scored more goals than Prince this season but anyway, that is the coach’s choice which ought to be respected. One would expected though, that the Azam striker be given at least some minutes in the return game.
With the focus now on tomorrow’s encounter, Logarusic has a lot thinking to do and plenty of radical decisions to make if Zimbabwe entertain any chances of beating Algeria.
The injury to goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze resulted in him roping in FC Platinum’s Petros Mhari; will the coach go with Talbert Shumba or the experienced Kugona Kunenge Kudana shot-stopper?
The central defence patnership of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu was breached three times for the first time ever, but tempering with it on Monday might be an unnecessary experiment.
What would not be an experiment however is the need to replace Devine Lunga at left back with either Jordan Zemura or Adam Chicksen as the Golden Arrows man had a nightmarish day in office on Thursday.
In fact, had it not been that Zimbabweans are used to the ‘Chipezeze is to blame’ chorus, critical lenses on Lunga should have been applied on the first two goals conceded by the Warriors.
The coach also needs to be realistic enough to understand that Karuru struggled to cope with tempo of the game as it wore on and with all due respect to the former Masvingo United man, it was at if the Warriors were a man short.
Once again and not for the last time; all eyes on Logarusic.