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Loga battles for work permit

by Staff reporter
26 Feb 2021 at 06:31hrs | Views
WARRIORS coach, Zdravko Logarusic, who is battling to extend his work permit after his initial one-year permit expired, says there is no guarantee he will get his Euro stars for the final two AFCON qualifiers next month.

The Croatian gaffer, just like his foreign-based stars, has been locked away in his home country as his employers at ZIFA scramble to secure an extension to his work permit, for another year.

ZIFA could not immediately apply for a renewal after his initial one-year work permit expired as pages in his passport had all been used up, forcing Loga to fly back home to obtain a new travel document. He has since secured one and ZIFA are now waiting for the Immigration Department to issue the coach with another one-year permit.

However, even though he remains locked in his home country, Loga has continued working, trying to build his team ahead of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia, next month.

Yesterday, he named a 38-man provisional squad, for the make-or-break matches, but conceded that about 10 players, including some of his Euro stars, might not feature in the two games. The Croat, who has failed to win in his first six assignments as Warriors coach, was scheduled supposed to name his squad last week but complications forced him to postpone the announcement.

He has been battling to get guarantees, from some of the European clubs that the players he has targeted for the two matches will be released to play for the Warriors. There is a strong likelihood that five of the UK-based players, named by Loga for the two matches, will not travel home to represent their country.

They are Aston Villa's Marvelous Nakamba, Wigan Athletic's Tendayi Darikwa, Jordan Zemura of Bournemouth, David Moyot of Scottish side Hamilton and newcomer, Brendon Galloway, of Championship side Luton.

Tough requirements, including mandatory 10-day airport hotel quarantines, have been prescribed by British authorities for those travelling into the UK from countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia. This means the clubs, who are not mandated to release their players, might decide to hold onto them, out of fear they will miss some crucial matches, on their return, as they deal with the quarantine requirements.

There is a huge probability that talismanic captain, Knowledge Musona, and his partner-in-chief, Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat, could both miss the matches as they battle to recover from injuries.

France-based midfielder Marshal Munetsi, who missed the back-to-back ties against Algeria in November last year because of a minor knock, could also miss the two games, for the same reason.

"Usually, our list of players should be made up of 28 players, that is three goalkeepers and 25 infield players. We made it much bigger because we are facing a few (potential) problems," said Loga in a statement.

"We don't know what (the situation) will be in England, Spain and USA because some clubs have declined to release players because of the Covid-19 policies there.

"We have problems with some injured regular players, whom we used in our games against Algeria, especially Khama [Billiat], [Marshall] Munetsi and [Knowledge] Musona.

"We have more than 10 players whose availability is in doubt."

Once again, Loga has included the pair of United States-based Tatenda Mukuruva and Tendai Jirira but there is a high likelihood they might again fail to travel. The duo failed to make it for the double-header against Algeria, due to the logistical complications, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coach is aware of the potential challenges, which can be brought by this pandemic, like what happened when his charges were preparing for the CHAN finals.

The CHAN squad lost two weeks of preparations, after nine players and five officials, including Loga, tested positive for Covid-19 and they had to be quarantined for 10 days. A blanket ban, on all sporting activities, was also imposed by the authorities, in response to the spike in the number of cases, which were being recorded in the country.

"We have (had) to call up more players, in case some test positive for Covid-19, in camp. We will select a team for the game against Botswana, leaving some players in the country, in case we lose some players before the game against Zambia," the coach said.

With the goalkeeping department a cause for concern, in recent years, Loga has drafted in Spain-based stopper, Martin Mapisa, hoping the Zamora CF 'keeper, will travel home to represent his country.

Elvis Chipezeze, who is not a favourite with the fans, has been dropped with Nkana goalkeeper Talbert Shumba, Highlanders' Ariel Sibanda and Mukuruva coming into the squad.

Seven players, who were in the CHAN squad, have been included in the match team. They are Sibanda, Tatenda Tavengwa, Peter Muduwa, Carlos Mavhurume, Shadreck Nyahwa, Farau Matare and King Nadolo.

Loga has retained faith in most of the players, who featured against Algeria, with Chipezeze and England-based Adam Chicksen being the notable absentees. Zimbabwe take on Botswana, on March 25, before hosting Zambia at the National Sports Stadium, four days later.

The three Southern Africa teams are fighting for the remaining ticket, in Group H, as pacesetters Algeria have already sealed their place after amassing 10 points from four matches. The Warriors are second, with five points to their name, a point ahead of Botswana, with basement side Zambia on three points.

If Zimbabwe beat Botswana, and Zambia fail to win at home against Algeria, the Warriors will join 23 other countries for the delayed AFCON finals in Cameroon next year.   


Talbert Shumba (Nkana), Tatenda Mkuruva (Michigan Stars), Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF)

Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana), Alec Mudimu (Ankaraspor), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor), Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Tendai Jirira (Detroit City), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Brendan Galloway (Luton Town), Victor Kamhuka (Royal Malaysia Police), Romario Matova (NK Solin), Peter Muduwa (Simba SC), Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS United), Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs)

Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Ovidy Karuru (Black Leopards), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United), Brian Banda (FC Platinum), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City) Tanaka Chinyahara (Red Arrows)

Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates), Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyon) David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Admiral Muskwe (Wycombe Wanderers), Farau Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United) Prince Dube (Azam)

Source - the herald
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