Tadious Manyepo in ALGIERS, Algeria
WARRIORS coach, Zdravko Logarusic, says his men paid a huge price for their poor preparations when they lost their first 2021 AFCON qualifier here on Thursday night.
The Croatian gaffer said, when the chances presented themselves, his teamlacked the belief which could have seen them pick, at least, a point against the Desert Foxes.
Loga’s ill-prepared team suffered a 1-3 defeat at the 5 July 1962 Stadium at the hands of African champions, Algeria.
Baghdad Bounedja, Riyad Mahrez and Sofiane Feghouli scored for the hosts while Tino Kadewere grabbed Zimbabwe’s consolation.
The two teams meet in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium on Monday.
The defeat left the Warriors in a difficult situation, after Zambia moved to within a point of the Warriors’ Group H tally, following a 2-1 win over Botswana in Lusaka earlier in the day.
“I will not have much time to talk about the defeat against Algeria in Algiers,’’ Loga said.
“We were very naive.
“We conceded all the goals from mistakes and failed to take our own chances.
“We had to change tactics in the second half and it worked.
“We were too naive for this level of the game. But, like what I have always said, it all comes down to lack of proper training.
“We only trained as a team once, on the night prior to the game, my players are also not fit due to the fact that most of them are not playing regular first team football at their respective teams.
“Nonetheless, I don’t have much time for a post-mortem, instead, we have to play good football and get a result on Monday at the National Sports Stadium.”
Loga hinted he could adopt the 4-4-2 formation in Harare, which he turned to in the second period of the game in Algiers, after initially using a 4-3-2-1 formation.
“Definitely, we gave Algeria too much respect and we need to change that when we play them again in Harare,’’ he said.
“The problem is that we gave them goals, which is a challenge.
“The problem why African teams fail to go further in the World Cup, is that they give their opponents easy goals, which we did in Algiers.
“If we can play and avoid giving our opponents goals then we stand a good chance of beating Algeria on Monday.”
Loga is optimistic his charges will rise to the occasion and post a positive result at home.
“I am very optimistic that we will get a result in Harare.
“Our team needs to settle down and find composure in front of goal. I think we have capable players who can weave chances for us to score.
“You saw when we changed the system, in the second half, it worked very well and we were pegging them back.
“That’s the same intensity we need to apply when we host them in Harare.
“All I can say, at the moment, is we are going to put the shift on and try to win at all costs.”
It was Loga’s first competitive match in charge of the Warriors since his appointment in February.
“I don’t have any pressure. We fell to the African champions and we have a chance to win the second match against the same opponents at our own ground.”
The Warriors, who arrived back in Harare yesterday, will have time to train today and tomorrow before plunging into the second of the back-to-back clashes against the Algerians.
Meanwhile, Loga has reassured striker, Prince Dube, he will soon be playing regularly for the Warriors.
The coach kept the in-form forward on the bench, for the entire match against the Algerians, on Thursday.
Dube has been in fine form for his Tanzanian team, Azam, where he has scored seven goals and provided five assists in 10 games.
But, with Warriors clearly struggling to find their range, in a match they missed several fine opportunities, Loga could not turn to Dube, at some point on Monday, in search for solutions.
The coach pulled out Khama Billiat and threw in Scotland-based forward, David Moyo, in the second half.
Moyo plays for Hamilton Academical in Scotland and has scored once in more than seven matches he has played.
But, Loga reckons the level of the game the rest of the strikers play at is higher than that of Dube.
“You know Prince (Dube) is in form but put yourself in my position. You have Khama (Billiat), Knowledge (Musona), Tino (Kadewere) there…
“Definitely his (Prince’s) chance will come.
“You also have David Moyo so, if you are to be realistic, we have five for the same position, and all those are playing in bigger leagues and they are doing well.
“I am not saying Prince is a bad player.
“He is still a young boy and can play well but he should be patient a bit. The games he is playing in Tanzania are also pushing his profile, and confidence, so be rest assured he will play.”