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Loga flies back for Afcon qualifiers

by Staff reporter
04 Mar 2021 at 06:26hrs | Views
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic arrived back in Harare yesterday from Croatia in preparation for the team's two critical Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers at the end of this month. Zimbabwe travel to Botswana on the 25th of this month for the penultimate Group H qualifier before concluding their qualification campaign with a home match against Zambia.

Four points from these two matches would be enough for the Warriors to secure their ticket to next year's Afcon finals in Cameroon.

Logarusic did not return to Harare following Zimbabwe's elimination from the African Nations Championships tournament in Cameroon in January as he chose to fly straight to Europe, where he has been domiciled ever since.

However, he touched down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday afternoon to start preparations for the two assignments, although he will need to regularise his papers first before he can begin his job.

Indications are that his work permit expired and local laws do not allow him to work with invalid papers.

Sources yesterday suggested that the Croat was in possession of a business permit, which allowed him to work in the country for a period of 30 days.

It is believed that his employer, Zifa, would use this window to secure him a work permit.

Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday confirmed that Logarusic was back in the country and they were working on legalising his stay here.

"Yes, he is back," Gwesela told NewsDay Sport.

"We are working on his work permit."

Logarusic announced his squad for the two fixtures from his base in Europe last week.

He named a squad of 38 players and justified the picking of such a bloated number to injury doubts to some of his players as well as the uncertainty surrounding the availability of some of the foreign-based stars, especially those from Europe and the United States due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Already, there are reports that star midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has been blocked by his Premier League side Aston Villa from travelling for the two fixtures.

Another Premier League side, Liverpool yesterday announced that it would block all its players from travelling for international matches this month if they will be required to be quarantined at an airport hotel for 10 days on their return.

This means Zimbabwe risk losing all their influential England-based stars if their clubs also adopt this hard stance.

Europe and the United States have red-listed some countries which they deem high-risk areas in terms of coronavirus variants, and Zimbabwe is among them.

They want all those returning from the red listed countries to be quarantined on their return.

Most clubs have said they are not comfortable with this arrangement as that will mean that their players will miss some league matches if they get quarantined on their return.

Fifa have said clubs are not obliged to release players.

Zimbabwe are second in Group H with five points, behind log leaders and already qualified Algeria who has 10 points.

With the top two teams from each group set to qualify to the Afcon finals in January next year, the Warriors will book their place if they beat Botswana and Zambia fail to beat Algeria on the same day.

Botswana have four points, while Zambia are pointless.

Source - newsday