By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic has dismissed concerns about his players’ lack of competitive game time ahead of his team’s African Nations Championships (CHAN) opener against hosts Cameroon at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde Saturday.
Zimbabwe head into the continental championships reserved for locally-based players on the back of inadequate preparations as players have been inactive inactivity as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Local players last played competitive football when the country’s top-flight season ended on November 30, 2019 while ZIFA was unable to organise friendly matches for the team in the build-up to the tournament.
However, the veteran tactician who had previously led Sudan to the biennial African football showpiece is positive that his team can shake off their coronavirus-induced rust to pull a shock in Group A which also includes Mali and Burkina Faso.
“I have seen more than 40 players who have the potential to play for the national team but it’s very hard to select players who haven’t played football for nine, 10 months,” Logarusic said after his team’s arrival in Cameroon on Thursday morning.
“Anyway, we will try our best to see how things go. We have tried our best as the technical team to give most players in the top-flight a chance to prove themselves.
“We will certainly try our best. We need to improve in every area of the game and hopefully, by the time we leave for Chan, we will be in better shape as a team.
“The players haven’t played football for eight, nine months and for sure every aspect of their game needs to be improved.
“It’s like what we have done in the past weeks has been pre-season and it’s difficult to judge which player can do well.
“Zimbabwe is full of talent and I think we will have a team to start working with. The players are breaking camp and I have urged them to try and be disciplined over this short period.”
The Zimbabwe side will be captained by experienced Chicken Inn defender Ian Nekati, who will be deputised by Dynamos skipper Patson Jaure.
Zimbabwe are making a fifth CHAN and their best outing remains a fourth-place finish achieved in South Africa 2014.
Warriors squad for CHAN
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simba Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi)
Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Patson Jaure (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Jaravani (CAPS Utd), Ian Nekati (Chicken inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS Utd), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Talent Chamboko (Manica Diamonds)
Midfielders: Richard Hachiro (CAPS Utd), Ronald Chitiyo (CAPS Utd), Shadreck Nyahwa (Byo (Chiefs), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Leeroy Mavunga (CAPS Utd), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Denver Mukamba (Ngezi)
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken inn), Tawanda Nyamandwe (Manica Diamonds), Farawo Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs).