Chioniso Mashakada, Sports Reporter
WARRIORS head coach Zdravko Logarusic says he is not risking playing players who are injured and those who picked yellow cards in the final 2022 Afcon qualifier against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium today.
Nine players picked yellow cards in previous matches and the coach said he cannot risk them because they will miss the opening matches at the finals next year if they are to be cautioned tonight.
“We have nine players including Khama Biliat who picked yellow cards. Players include captain Knowledge Musona, Alec Mudimu, Tafadzwa Rusike, Teenage Hadebe , Jimmy Dzingai, Thabani Kamusoko and Terrence Dzvukamanja. All these players, if we feature them in our last match, they have a risk of missing our opening match at the Afcon finals.
“Their absence is actually giving us a tough time. Imagine not having captain Knowledge, Jimmy, Kuda and Teenage on the opening match.
That is the reason why we decided not to feature them because we want them on our opening match.”
Besides having players with yellow cards, the coach also added that they also have injured players who are also not able to play today.
“Away from yellow cards we got injuries in our camp. I don’t think it’s good for us to feature injured players whilst we have others who can do the job. Players who are injured consist of captain Knowledge Musona, vice Ovidy Karuru, Perfect Chikwende and Thabani Kamusoko.
“As for Ovidy he played injured in Botswana. We had to inject him so that he plays and now he is hiding his injury because he still wants to play but we will decide. Our selection pool is so limited now but we will use those who are available.
“Some of the players we have here in camp are yet to play competitive FIFA matches but I believe they will use the opportunity to impress the technical team in order for them to get other call ups. I will also have a chance to observe some of them if they fit in my format. They didn’t have enough time to show what they have and have time to access them and if I’m satisfied they are in and making my selection tough.
“I believe the guys will deliver because I’m just telling them that guys if you fail to hold Zambia how am I going to call you again to play Ghana or South Africa. We don’t have team A or B in Zimbabwe. Once you are in you are there to deliver, they are seniors just like other regular names.
Today some of the players have tickets to make it to the finals or other qualifications.
“I’m using this opportunity to make the selection pool wider and to protect other seniors. In return they will seek to impress me. As a coach I will be also saving my job because Zimbabwe is a football loving nation what they want is positive results only so I’m not changing my approach.
We are going for positive results only. Let the players use the chance and see if they will make it again. My selection criteria are based on character then talent later.
“I believe players need to show their dedication and commitment before their talent. If one is dedicated, committed and talented it’s a yes for me. All we want today is maximum points,” said Loga.