BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic has revealed his targets for next month’s Cosafa Cup and interestingly they do not include winning the competition for a record extending seventh time.
Zimbabwe has won the Cosafa Cup a record six times and have been drawn against guests Senegal, Namibia and Mozambique in Group C of the competition.
The country can extend the record to seven wins and pull away from closest rivals and defending champions Zambia, who have captured the title five times.
But Logarusic, who is set to announce a new look Warriors’ squad for the regional competition this week has other objectives apart from winning the event.
“We are not going with the strongest squad. We didn’t call about 14 or 15 players, who are usually the top players in the Zimbabwe national football team. We have given a chance to other players, who must prove themselves,” the 55-year-old Croat said during Episode 23 of the Cosafa Show
“We are not talking about ‘are we going to win or are we not going to win (the Cup). We are in this tournament to try and make our team stronger for the World Cup qualification and to make our squad strong for the upcoming Afcon. And we are also using this competition to see who will play in qualification for the next Chan competition,” Logarusic added.
The 20th edition of the Cosafa Cup returns to the football calendar after it had to be cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is scheduled to run from July 7-18.
Logarusic is expected to announce the Cosafa squad during the course of the week.
Interestingly, Zifa had earlier hinted that the Warriors technical team would take a strong squad to Cosafa in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers, which were moved to September after missing out on the previous Fifa calendar.
However, it appears Logarusic has other ideas and will not need the seasoned players at the regional championship.
“We are going to use the players, which we didn’t see during the Afcon qualification. And we are going to give a chance to players, who are future stars and some players who didn’t play a lot of minutes during the qualification for Afcon. They have a chance to prove themselves.
“We are calling some players from the local league; the local league has stopped again. We are going to see some new faces and we wait to see how they are going to perform. Let’s try to make our team stronger,” he said.
Logarusic has been on a drive to meet and exchange notes with local coaches since he arrived back into the country from his native Croatia at the beginning of the month.
He also has been following the Chibuku Cup matches to see players that he could include in the Cosafa squad, but unfortunately the government banned all sports following the threat of a Covid-19 third wave.
The Warriors coach is believed to be interested in giving some foreign based players who have not had a chance to play for Zimbabwe and one of the names being thrown around is that of England-born Leicester City starlet Tawanda Maswanhise.
The Zimbabwe coach also reacted to the Cosafa Cup draw for the first time.
“It’s an interesting draw, Senegal, Namibia, Mozambique let’s see how things will go. It’s surprising to meet Senegal, (but) I think all of us have the same chances. Let’s see, which type of good we will bring (from Cosafa),” he said.
Zimbabwe last won the Cosafa Cup in 2018 after beating Zambia 4-2 in extra time having also beaten the same opponents 3-1 in the final of the 2017 edition.
In their previous participation in the Cosafa Cup, an Afcon-bound star studded Warriors squad lost on penalties to Zambia in the semi-finals two years ago.