Warriors resume training

Source: Warriors resume training | The Herald

Warriors resume training
The Warriors (file pic)

Tadious Manyepo

Sports Reporter

THE Warriors are expected to resume preparations for CHAN football finals this afternoon after getting the green light from the Government on Thursday.

The rescheduled biannual tournament runs between January 16 and February 7 in Cameroon.

It was postponed from the initial April 4-25, 2020 period due to Covid-19.

And the squad had been grounded after nine players and five officials, including coach Zdravko Logarusic, tested positive for coronavirus 12 days ago.

Their Plan B to, at least, start training with those who had retained negative results even after they were tested for a second time suffered a huge setback following a sweeping ban on all sporting activities by the Sports Commission in light of the rising Covid-19 cases.

But the authorities have cleared the team to return to the training ground ahead of their departure for Cameroon next Wednesday.

Members of the squad who tested positive were tested again yesterday and the results were expected to come out late in the evening or this morning.

Those who retain positive results are set to be replaced by the players who are on coach Loga’s standby list.

National teams general manager, Wellington Mpandare, yesterday confirmed the Warriors will resume training this afternoon.

“Covid-19 tests for the members who tested positive for the virus the last time out will be carried out today (yesterday) with results expected in the evening or tomorrow (today),” said Mpandare.

“Like we have indicated earlier, those who retain positive results will be replaced by the players who are on standby.

“We are also running around so that we can resume training tomorrow (today) afternoon. We were waiting for both clearance from the Government as well as the days to conduct tests for those who tested positive the last time out.

“Those who tested negative on December 28 last year have also been tested again and they have retained negative results.

“So once we finalise on the tests, we will then start training. We will also conduct tests on January 12 before our departure on Wednesday next week. At the moment, those are the two things we are seized with, that is training resumption and testing of the players.”

Depending on whether he retains negative results or not, Logarusic will have to move mountains working out combinations before the team’s departure to Cameroon.

That the 23-member squad has never trained together since they went into camp on December 28 last year is a cause for concern for Loga especially given that the players never played any competitive football last year.

The domestic league was suspended when it was about to kick off last year and the Croat tactician has always expressed concern over the match fitness levels of his lads.

Zimbabwe are in Group A along with hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali and all these counties’ leagues are active, a situation which is worrying Loga.

“Football is basically about four things, mental, physical, tactical and technical. But, when you look at it, you will realize that we need to work on all those four aspects since we have not been playing competitively since 2019,” said Loga.

“Every aspect, every department needs some fine-tuning. It’s unfortunate but we have to find a way and fight tooth and nail when we go to Cameroon.

“We need to motivate the players, psyche them up and we know we are the Warriors we can grind results even against odds.

“It’s very difficult to play against players who have been playing every week but we should find a way and get results when we go to Cameroon.”