ZDRAVKO Logarušić (pictured), Zimbabwe’s football coach, has said he will use the current off-season break in some leagues to bond with his players away from the training ground as part of efforts to create “team chemistry” before the beginning of 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September.
Logarušić arrived back in the country this week from his native Croatia, where he was vacationing after guiding the Warriors to 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualification in March.
The Croat’s team is dominated by a host of Europe-based stars, and others from some African leagues, most of them expected to spend the break at home in Zimbabwe.
“I have already met with some players over lunch, and more will be coming back home in due course,” Logarušić told The NewsHawks on Thursday.
“We will discuss a lot of things, understand each other, and share thoughts and ideas. Everyone has something to contribute. Team chemistry is extremely important, we have to be a team.”
Logarušić has, meanwhile, called for greater unity as the 55-year-old gaffer attempts to make history by becoming the first coach to take Zimbabwe’s football team to the World Cup.
The Warriors are pooled in Group G alongside South Africa, Ghana and Ethiopia in a daunting task to reach Qatar late next year and, in doing so, become a special group of trailblazing footballers from this country.
“We are one team and one country,” Logarušić made his emotional plea. “We must fight together, everybody, the players, the coaches, the media, the fans, everybody. We share the same goal. But we must not only talk about the good job we are doing. We also need to discuss the other things that we’re not doing properly.”
The World Cup qualifiers were postponed from June to September, with Zimbabwe pencilled in to face South Africa in the opener this Saturday.
The implications of the rescheduling of the fixtures, commented Logarušić, will be only known with the passage of time.
“It’s something that’s out of our control,” he said. “It can be a negative thing, it can be a positive team. The positive thing is that players will be back playing again in their clubs, and they will have match fitness. But, you know, in football, what happens in three months no one knows. I hope (Knowledge) Musona won’t be injured, I hope (Teenage) Hadebe won’t be injured, I hope Khama (Billiat) will be back. We pick players that are fit, and players that are in form.”
With the Zimbabwean domestic football having recently returned to the calendar for the first time since 2019, Logarušić promised locally-based players will be given a fair crack of the whip if they prove their mettle.
“I will watch, I hope to see some quality football,” he said. “Let’s see, if there are good players, they will be seriously considered for selection.”