The Sunday Mail
WITH neither family nor friends to talk to in Zimbabwe, Warriors coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic is a lonely man during the current coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Loga, who recently moved out from his hotel to a rented apartment after hotelier Cresta Hotels temporarily closed its properties across the country, has been spending most of his time on the internet researching about local football and following up on players plying their trade in foreign leagues.
The 52-year-old coach describes the 21-day lockdown imposed by Government as “a difficult situation to cope with” but a necessary intervention to combat the spread of the virus.
“It is not an easy situation, imagine yourself in Croatia, confined in an apartment with no friends or family, how will you feel, that is what I am feeling. Government has done what it has to do to protect people from the spread of the virus. I am all by myself: no family, no friends, but the good thing is that I have found a way around not to feel lonely,” said the Croat.
Loga, who had an opportunity to travel back to his native country and be with his family, revealed his reason of staying in Zimbabwe at a time when global sport has been suspended.
“I had an opportunity to travel back to Croatia before the lockdown, but I wanted to be with Zimbabwean people and be part of them until this is over. I am optimistic that this will be over soon. I did not want to lose any time when this is over. I want to be there and quickly start working as soon as this is over; going back to Croatia I would lose about two weeks sorting my travelling papers to get back here,” he said.
Despite being confined to his apartment for 21 days, the Warriors gaffer does not regret his decision to stay in Zimbabwe.
“In some way I can say I am lonely but that is part of my job; mentally, I will have to deal with.
“I have been watching Zimbabwe national team matches, watching videos of the players, following what has been written about them so that I can have an idea of the kind of players I will be dealing with after this lockdown is over.
“I am optimistic that we are likely to have a crash programme and the best time to prepare for that is to know the strengths and weaknesses of the players now,” said Loga.
The former Sudan coach said he has now set a routine exercise programme that he has been following to keep fit since the suspension of the Warriors’ training camp.
“Since we are in a lockdown, I have devised a routine exercise plan. I run around the apartment I am staying and do some exercises in the morning and evening; then in the afternoon, I spend much of my time on the internet researching about football.”
He said the global pandemic had made life difficult for sportspersons.
“As sportspersons we are not used to be in office or to be staying indoors for this considerable amount of time, it is a difficult situation for us. Quarantine, self-isolation, lockdown — whatever you may call it — is not what we are used to, this moment is very hard for us to cope with, it is a difficult time for us people in sport. We are just praying that this time comes to pass soon.” Loga had spent close to two weeks in his new job when sporting activities were suspended. He had assembled his provisional squad for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals, whose opening game would have pitted his Warriors against hosts Cameroon in a Group A encounter today.
Loga revealed that before the tournament had been called off preparations were going on very well. “The preparations were going on very well, the CHAN squad was shaping up very well and with a bit of time we would have reached the level where wanted to be, and, at the same time, my focus was on the Algerian game. I am competitive, I know how good I am, how good our team is. I like to compete with the favourites but, unfortunately, the matches were called off for good reasons.
“We were looking forward to both the tournament and the Algerian game,” he said.
Loga would now have to contend with having to start afresh when Covid-19 is eventually contained. “The coronavirus break affected everyone. I was greatly affected, I was getting to know my team then we were forced into a break, which we have no idea how long it will take. I would say I was bit unlucky not to spend much time with the players. I would have wanted to know them better but I couldn’t and the bad part of it is that we have to start again when this is over.
“It will take time to get back to where we had reached but we have to adapt to the current situation while we plan for the future,” Loga said.