Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic steps into the National Sports Stadium this afternoon knowing that anything but a win in the crucial AFCON qualifier against Algeria will have many damaging effects to his tenure.
The Croat oversaw his first competitive game in charge of the Warriors in Algiers last Thursday, a contest which ended 3-1 in favor of the Desert Foxes.
It was the first time Zimbabwe lost to Algeria in over 30 years and the Croat will be remembered as the first coach to allow the North African giants to celebrate victory at the Warriors’ expense in over three decades.
As a way of trying to rectify the errors which led to the defeat in Algiers, Logarusic decided to take the bull by its horn and was in full control of Saturday and Sunday’s training sessions at the match venue, unlike in the previous ones where he would allow his assistant Lloyd ‘Lodza’ Chitembwe to call most shots.
The reality is that there are many divisions in the Warriors setup, which do not need magnifying glasses to see; from the coaches to the players and the Croat has a lot of work to do to get rid of them, that is if he is aware.
Some players feel inapposite in the group and believe there are people who are against the head coach’s decisions, which they somehow feel are not good for the team.
“To be honest my brother some of us feel out of place in here, we don’t feel as if we are part of the setup. The manner in which we are treated is not the same as others are treated, maybe because some of the coaches feel we didn’t deserve a call up,” one Warriors player who spoke on condition of anonymity, said yesterday.
He continued: “The thing is there are players who I think the coach insistently called up despite his assistants thinking otherwise and they use that to substantiate the claim that his decisions are not good for the team.”
Whether that is true or not is a debate for another day, what is for correct for sure is that Logarusic needs a positive result this afternoon.
Some are already questioning his ability while others have even ridiculously gone to the extent of pointing to his love for pictures as a reason to argue that he is not a football coach.
Should he lose to Algeria again, it will certainly be a knives-out situation for the Croat and fans will bay for his blood.
Should the Warriors fall again to Algeria, it will be the first time Zimbabwe lose two consecutive AFCON qualifiers in a very long time and their Group H neighbors Chipolopolo can leapfrog them into second position should they beat Botswana.
If he does lead the Warriors to victory however, he would have broken the Foxes’s unbeaten streak stretching to 21 games.
He will go down in history as the coach to do so and deny Algeria the chance to break Egypt’s record for the highest number of unbeaten games- 24.
Should Logarusic lead his charges to victory today, he would have not only silenced his critics once and for all but also proven that he can take the team to dizzy heights.
What more proof than a win over the seemingly untouchable African champions?
Its a sink or swim situation for the Warriors coach come 3pm this afternoon.