WITH the ZIFA board expected to meet this weekend to review the performance of under fire national team coach, Zdravko Lugarusic, the football governing board’s national executive member, Sugar Chagonda, has revealed that he is a disciple of a school of thought that favours the appointment of local coaches for the Warriors’ top technical post.
Being a national ZIFA board member, Chagonda is part of the appointing authority that presided over the appointment of out of sorts Croatian, Lugarusic as Warriors coach, but the former Manica Diamonds secretary general, says his personal thinking does not reflect the overall position of the national association.
In an interview on the raging debate on the eligibility and justification of clinging on to Loga on the backdrop of poor results since he took over, Chagonda did not mince his words, stating that the Warriors’ track record under local coaches speaks for itself.
“I think it is clear that local coaches have performed better when it comes to the results we have had with our national teams in retrospect. We have achieved more with them and whenever foreign coaches are appointed there was nothing achieved in terms of results.
“If anything, it has always been the hype that does not translate into qualification for major international tournaments. Any national team’s success is hugely measured against qualification for major international assignments like the World Cup or the African Nations Cup.
“In our case, we have achieved much under the guidance of our local coaches and that informs my thinking. Yes, I am part of the appointing authority and that does not mean my personal thinking reflects the association’s decisions or line of thought,” said Chagonda.
The recent COSAFA Tournament nightmare became the latest of a series of Loga’s underperformance as Warriors coach.
Loga came up for heavy criticism following the Warriors’ lifeless show at the CHAN competition in which they became the first team to bow out of the tournament in Cameroon early this year.
The Warriors returned home having failed to register a single point.
They managed just one goal — scored by defender, Partson Jaure — from their Group A games against Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
In the aftermath of that forgettable CHAN appearance, Loga and his men carried the ignominious record of being the worst Warriors outfit at CAF or COSAFA tournaments.
In the same measure, embattled Loga and his band of below average players, ostensibly selected as an experimental squad, took the Warriors brand to new depths of mediocrity in the just-ended COSAFA Tournament.
Chagonda disputes the experimental approach.
“I do not believe in the theory that we went to COSAFA for experimental purposes. Not even the selection of the squad should have been experimental. We have a brand to protect and we surely cannot allow ourselves to be a global laughing stock in the name of experiments.
“COSAFA is a serious competition which we have dominated and took pride in that. For someone to suggest that they were experimenting defies logic or perhaps reveals lack of understanding of the history of local football,” he said.
Zimbabwe has enjoyed much of its little football success stories under the tutelage of local coaches especially in 2004 when the country first qualified for the African Cup of Nations under the leadership of Sunday Chidzambwa, then 2006 when we went for the continental football showpiece under Charles Mhlauri, 2017 under Kallisto Pasuwa and the in 2019 under Chidzambwa again, making the appointment, let alone perpetuation of a foreign coach’s contract, hugely unreasonable.
Even under the current circumstances, Loga can hardly claim ownership of Zimbabwe’s qualification to AFCON Cameroon 2022 as he was just a small part of a relay, which started with Chicken Inn gaffer, Joey Antipas.