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Loga sets squad selection criteria

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:37hrs | Views
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic, who is close to finalising his list of the players for next year's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), stressed that he will select players who are committed to the national team.

Zimbabwe booked their place at the finals set for Cameroon in January after beating Botswana in a penultimate Group H qualifier in Francistown last week.

Logarusic used the game against Zambia on Monday to test the performance of some of the fringe players in the squad. They lost 2-0 and the coach said he was not impressed with most of the players' performance.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, the Croat said he had a picture of the kind of players that he would select for the finals.

"We now have a picture of the players who have the qualities to play for the national team and those who are not good enough," he said.

"This was a match against Zambia and if a player couldn't handle an opponent like them, how am I going to call them to take care of tougher opponents like Ghana. I think the game opened our eyes."

Loga picked out goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, rightback Takudzwa Chimwemwe and leftback Onismor Bhasera for praise.

"Some players from those who played will receive the national team call-up again and some will have to wait a bit."

He hinted the players who will make the final squad to the Afcon as he listed at least 20 players of the 23 that will travel to Yaounde.

"Khama Billiat should be there, Tendayi Darikwa, Tino Kadewere, Marvelous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi, Jordan Zemura, David Moyo, Admiral Muskwe and three keepers. That means we have 11 players in the squad already. From this squad, you add Ovidy Karuru, Knowledge Musona, Teenage Hadebe, Jimmy Dzingai and Onismor and already I have 16 players. I am left with seven slots.

Logarusic revealed that he is considering former Everton defender Brendon Galloway and Reading star Andy Rinemhota who have showed willingness to play for Zimbabwe. The two were born in England, but have Zimbabwean roots.

"Remember Galloway is coming and we are working on bringing Rinemhota. We will select players who are playing at a high level, so we will consider them. Then we have Prince Dube and Knox Mtizwa as well. You can see that the list is almost full."

On Rinemhota, he said: "We should know about his availability very soon. Our office is talking to him through an agent."

"But all those players will have to show commitment. Remember we won against Botswana because we had fantastic quality and we played as a team. The players showed commitment. Most of them never expected to be starters, but they played and delivered a result. There are some players who want to choose which matches they will play and that will not be tolerated. We want players that are ready to play for the country, and that is important," he said.

Loga has been criticised by some fans for fielding fringe players against Zambia. He said the aim was to assess their performance.

"We had finished our mission of qualifying, so it was hard to motivate the players. Of course, I want to win every match, but sometimes I must act as a coach and not a supporter. I don't want to be naïve and Zimbabweans should not be naïve as well. Those who are criticising me don't have enough information of what is happening in the team. We had five players, the starters, who had one yellow card and if they had received another yellow, then that means they were going to miss our opening match at the Afcon finals. Can we then risk those players and they miss the opening match? We had some players who have been with us, but not getting game time to prove themselves. We needed to give some of them time to impress and we needed to assess them in a competitive match."

Reports suggest that Loga has shut the door on Devine Lunga and Macauley Bonne for snubbing national team call-ups.

Source - newsday

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