Every record is meant to be broken at some point and the fact the Zinedine Zidane’s well-oiled Real Madrid thrashed Juventus in the Champions League final in 2017 to become the first team in the modern era to win Europe’s premier club competition in back to back seasons, is a testimony to that.
When Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić arrived in Zimbabwe in February 2020, he was quickly reminded by those who love the national team that no foreign coach has ever led Zimbabwe to the AFCON finals since the country attained independence from British encroachment in April 1980.
Even the late Reinhard Fabisch, with the flowery way in which his reign in the Warriors dugout in the early 90s is described, did not take Zimbabwe to the continental extravaganza.
It was in the days of Fabisch’s ‘Dream Team’ when our elders in the media invented the line ‘so near and yet so far’ and to this very day, we just lack the courage to ask them if that phrase is even grammatically-correct.
A catalogue of excuses is given every time fans curiously-ask why that team was named the ‘Dream Team’ yet it never achieved the nation’s dream of qualifying for AFCON or the World Cup.
Logarušić will, with a victory over Botswana on Thursday, inch closer to becoming the first ever foreign coach to lead Zimbabwe to the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Despite many doubting the firebrand Croat’s tactical prowess and despite him not having started the AFCON 2021 qualifying campaign, he will be given credit if the team books a place at the continental spectacle, which has been moved to next year in Cameroon, owing to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Warriors accumulated four of the five points they have in Group H when they were still under the tutelage of Chicken Inn coach Joey ‘Mafero’ Antipas- who led the team on an interim basis in 2019 following Sunday ‘Mhofu’ Chidzambwa’s resignation.
But history will say it was Loga who led the team to AFCON finals, hence the first foreigner to do so.
He will take his Warriors to Francistown knowing that if they successfully hunt down the Zebras and then Algeria beat Zambia, qualification would be sealed before Monday’s clash with Chipolopolo at the National Sports Stadium.