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Benjani not yet ripe for Warriors top job

His CV was enough to raise questions why Zifa had settled for a man who had coached only Sudan at national team level and had also not been all that successful at clubs like AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia in Kenya, Tanzanian club Simba, and Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko, despite their riches.


FROM day one in February, 2020, when Zdravko Logarusic took up his assignment as Zimbabwe national team coach, there was always this feeling that the Croat was not the right man for the job.

His CV was enough to raise questions why Zifa had settled for a man who had coached only Sudan at national team level and had also not been all that successful at clubs like AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia in Kenya, Tanzanian club Simba, and Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko, despite their riches.

The fact remains that Zifa had their own reasons for giving this man this demanding job and also had their reasons for keeping him despite Zimbabwe falling to its lowest levels since 1980 when the Warriors were admitted to international football.

We also had our own time when we thought Loga needed more time, but at the rate the Warriors have fallen, now is time that the team is saved from this man before the Warriors sink to the levels of Seychelles, Mauritius, the Comoros and Lesotho.

We at that time, agreed that he was not totally to blame for the results at Chan and we also agreed that he was not fully responsible for the show in the Cosafa Cup, but we cannot run away from the fact that Loga is fully responsible for the disastrous performances against South Africa and Ethiopia.

How surely can a Zimbabwean team be reduced to such levels where they only have 29% ball possession compared to 71% for an Ethiopian team that is ranked 29 places lower than that of the Warriors.

The Warriors are 108 in the world and 26th in Africa while Ethiopia are 137th in the world and 40th in Africa.

We now agree that Loga has had his time and has failed. If it was in another country, the Croat would have been fired long back, but not in Zimbabwe where we seem to take a far much different approach from that of the rest of the football world.

In fact, Loga should not have been allowed to stay on for as long as 14 matches, but should have been given the sack after six or seven matches as results then, spoke strongly against him.

Maybe things would have changed for the better for the Croat had he not refused Zifa’s offer for him to work with Joey Antipas as one of his assistants.

Sadly, because of insecurity — Loga has put Zimbabwe in a place in football where the Warriors need to get out of urgently. Whether he stays on or packs his bags, the fact is that Zifa will still need a long-term successor to this blundering Croat sooner or later.

The Zimbabwe Football family believes Zimbabwe’s destiny is in the hands of a local coach, someone whom our players cannot push around despite their big names.

They believe the Warriors need someone who can declare his principles through the performance of his team, someone who can let his ambitions soar while keeping his feet on the ground.

There are too many of them floating around in the form of Bruce Grobbelaar, Norman Mapeza, Charles Mhlauri, Joey Antipas himself and Kalisto Pasuwa, but certainly not Benjani Mwaruwari as some have suggested.

This Benjani factor is also the direction that Zifa seems to be heading for, a decision that does not seem to sound so well with some of us.

We have known Benjani for some time, we have associated with him for some time, and he should not feel offended that we feel he is still raw and not yet ready to take over the reins of Zimbabwe Warriors coach.

The Undertaker commands the respect of players and has played top flight football for Jomo Cosmos in South Africa, Grasshoppers Zurich in Switzerland, Auxerre in France, Man City, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers, and Sunderland in England, but he is still a novice in coaching.

We are not sure whether he has so far coached even a social soccer team, but one thing we know is that he has just completed his coaching course, having retired from active football in 2014.

Fine. Benjani now holds a UEFA A licence but that is only a piece of paper and he needs to find a club to handle or remain as the Warriors assistant for some time before he can be trusted with the top job.

Zifa should avoid making the same mistake in their choice of coach like they did in importing Loga and dumping Antipas who had won two, drawn one, and lost one of his World Cup and Afcon matches.

In fact, there are some who believe that Loga is just the stem of the problem Zimbabwe football is facing with the root of the crisis being somewhere at 53 Livingstone Avenue — the headquarters of our football.

Zifa needs to get it right this time by getting somebody who is passionate about his job, somebody who knows the Zimbabwean environment well, and somebody who played football at the highest level, somebody like Grobbelaar.

With the World Cup matches and the Afcon finals just around, Zifa might have their own plans, but a combination of Grobbelaar, Antipas, and Mwaruwari, is worth giving a try.

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