For the Zimbabwean football-loving public, the upcoming African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2021 finals present another chance to feast on the the beautiful game.
Locally-based football stars from various countries across Africa descend on Cameroon in January next year for the 6th edition of continental showpiece.
The last time Zimbabwe were at the CHAN finals, at Rwanda 2016, renowned comedian Prosper ‘The Comic Pastor’ Ngomashi threw a huge swipe at then coach Calisto Pasuwa’s charges’ performance, which saw them get eliminated in the first round.
The difference between then and now is a global pandemic.
Due to the novel virus, the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League has been sidelined since March, meaning Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic will have to make do with players who haven’t tasted competitive football for nearly 10 months.
Zimbabwe will be the only team at the tournament with such a disadvantage as other leagues in Africa are in full swing but Logarusic, as always, is confident of producing results.
”Its a tall order, but we are Warriors, we are not going to Cameroon to add numbers. We have to go there and compete,” he was quoted as saying by The Herald.
While the Croat is one individual capable of convincing people that what’s white is black or whats black is white, sometimes reality will catch up.
Despite the lack of competitive football setback, Logarusic is dealing with a majority of players he has no knowledge of their abilities.
Of the players in the provisional Warriors squad for the tournament, the coach is familiar with only Phineas Bamusi, Ishmael Wadi, Petros Mhari and King Nadolo, the quartet he worked with in the build up to the Malawi friendly.
He obviously selected the majority of the squad based on the recommendation of his assistants Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya.
A confiedence booster for the local football fraternity heading into the tournament, which roars into life with Zimbabwe playing hosts Cameroon on the 16th of January, Logarusic led Sudan to third in the 2018 edition.
Can he can make the Warriors competitive come January and defy the odds stuck on them emanating from lack of league football?