Zimbabwe: Loga Welcomes Senegalese Challenge

WARRIORS coach, Zdravko Logarusic, believes his troops will get a frank assessment of their capabilities, when they take on Senegal, in this year's COSAFA Cup in South Africa.

The tournament will run from July 7 to 18 at the Nelson Mandela Bay.

The West Africans are this year's guests, at the regional tournament, after they were invited to participate at the historic 20th edition of the COSAFA Cup.

The tournament is also making a return, after a one-year hiatus, due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Record champions Zimbabwe are in Group C, together with the Lions of Teranga, Namibia and Mozambique.

The top team, from each of the three groups, will book a ticket in the semi-finals.

The team, which finished as the best among those in second place, from all the group, will also make it into the last four.

Twelve teams will converge in Port Elizabeth, as the city hosts the men's competition, for the first time.

In the past, only the women's COSAFA Championship, and the men's age-groups tournaments, have been hosted at the Bay.

Loga, who has been meeting the domestic Premiership coaches discussing local football and players, with the regional tournament in mind, is expected to announce his squad next week.

He told Warriors manager, Wellington Mpandare, he will provide a comprehensive reaction to the COSAFA Cup draw, next week, after assembling his squad.

However, the Croat has already had a brief discussion, about the draw, with Mpandare.

The team manager said the coach had welcomed the draw and was keen to assess a number of players at next month's regional tournament.

"It is good for us playing against a quality team like Senegal, it's good for us, because the coach wants to assess his players," said Mpandare.

"We don't know which players they are going to bring to the tournament but we are happy to be drawn against them.

"Namibia are competitive, we know them very well, they have the same team for COSAFA and Africa Cup of Nations games.

"Mozambique are very serious with their football, they have full Government backing, and wanted to charter a flight for their international players.

"So, it's good for us to play against these three teams at the COSAFA Cup group stages.

"The coach will announce our squad next week."

Mpandare said they had scheduled a trip, with Loga, to Bulawayo as part of their meet-the-coaches-and-players tour.

"We were supposed to go with the coach to Bulawayo this weekend, to see other players, and then to Zvishavane and Mutare," he said.

"Unfortunately, with the suspension of the games, it's no longer possible for now.

"But, he has some players in mind, players he has seen and players he has not seen.

"It is unfortunate that he has only managed to see six teams in action, so it's difficult, but we hope for the best."

The technical team are hoping ZIFA secure clearance from the Government, for the Warriors to travel to South Africa, for the COSAFA Cup.

ZIFA also need special permission for the players to assemble, and start training, in preparation for the tournament.

The local league was just getting into the groove, with the Chibuku Super Cup having completed the first round, when the suspension, on most sports activities, including football, was announced.

Loga had managed to watch some of the players in action although he felt the performance levels were still low because they were virtually still in the pre-season gear.

He told The Herald last week he wanted to have a bigger input, in squad selection, this time around.

In the past, the coach has relied mostly on the choices of his assistant coaches, Tonderai Ndiraya and Lloyd Chitembwe, when it comes to selecting the home-based players.

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