NOT that it matters now, but I would like to know what stage it was when the wise guys at the national football association, Zifa, decided that Zdravko Logarušić (pictured) would be Zimbabwe’s next substantive coach.
Was it after Joey Antipas — a caretaker local coach who must be wondering what he must do to get the recognition from his own home federation — had gone to Zambia and guided the Warriors to a famous away in Lusaka?
The win against Chipolopolo, and the point earned from the opening draw with Botswana, both under Antipas’ watch, to me pretty much secured Zimbabwe’s qualification to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
If the decision to overlook Antipas was made after the Lusaka feat and the four points he amassed from the first two qualifiers, then we really need to take a long hard look at ourselves as a proud people and as a footballing nation — asking ourselves if we really value ourselves enough. You be the judge, but I truly believe that I say what I say here with no hint of blind patriotism.
I have a natural detest for entitlement and we all know how it has been one of the downfalls of our country. But I have struggled to understand how a small-time coach from Croatia, fired by Sudan in his only one previous international coaching job — good gracious he is not a Hervé Renard or Winfried Schäfer’s — would be plucked from obscurity to take the place of a local who has repeatedly proved to be equal to the task.
So Logarušić, the one who is a mockery of his fellow Europeans in African football like Renard and Schafer, will be collecting a cool US$55 000 as part of his severance package following his sacking as Warriors coach two weeks ago.
The US$55 000 is due to him for being the coach at the time Zimbabwe qualified for next year’s Afcon finals.
Yet this fellow had the easiest task of beating Botswana in the reverse tie, after the platform was laid for him by Antipas, to seal qualification.
The 1-0 win in Francistown remained Logarušić’s only win in 14 games, until he was shown the exit early this month.
What of Joey Antipas, whose four points in the opening fixtures, including the priceless win in Zambia that cleared the path? Well, he will not be getting anything. Zilch!
Following Logarušić’s exit, I would be surprised if Norman Mapeza — the former national team captain who accepted the position of Warriors interim coach last week — would not have made reference to the treatment of Antipas in his negotiations with Zifa.
Zifa has made Mapeza’s interim appointment short term and performance based. I do hope that he does well. And if as a nation we still have a sense of integrity and self-worth, I wish that Mapeza, or any other local coach that may take over, gets the same recognition and perks that anyone from anywhere would be offered by Zifa under the circumstances.