Loga crisis looms

IT might just be five months since his ignominious exit from the Warriors dressing room, but Croatian coach Zdravko “Loga’’ Logarusic could return to haunt Zimbabwean football over his unpaid perks.

He was sent packing in September following a poor record with the Warriors, which included winless runs at the 2021 African Nations Championships (CHAN), the COSAFA Cup and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

It has since emerged that the 56-year-old claims he is still owed by ZIFA.

Loga insists the Warriors’ qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon entitles him to a US$50 000 bonus.

Although he finished the AFCON qualification race that had been started by Joey Antipas, he was fired before he could take charge of the Warriors at the continental soccer showcase.

Sources say ZIFA have been moving the gaffer from pillar to post as he seeks to recover his outstanding dues.

“There is an agreement that if the money is not settled, it starts to accrue interest,’’ added the sources.

Loga, whose contract with the association courted controversy as it was considered dodgy, confirmed to The Sunday Mail Sport that he was still owed money by ZIFA.

He, however, could not specify how much.

In his quest to recover the money, he reportedly made contact with suspended ZIFA chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse, who, in turn, referred him to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

Kamambo and his board were suspended by the sports regulatory body on November 16 last year. It is feared Loga “may consider taking his case to FIFA if it is not clear that he will get his money”.

Kamambo says ZIFA had sought financial assistance from FIFA to pay off Loga and other creditors before his board was suspended.

“We had a contract with Loga to pay him, so we wrote to FIFA for approval to use the funds from CAF to pay him off, and, unfortunately, when our secretary-general went to the bank, he was told that ZIFA could not transact from the account,” he said.

“It is not only Loga we owe, but there is also a list of service providers like hotels and travel agents that need to be paid. I think the ZIFA debt stands at plus or minus US$200 000 at the moment.”

He said if these current liabilities are not settled, they are likely to balloon to unsustainable levels.

“SRC should settle these outstanding debts, which were incurred before and after our suspension. If SRC are funding ZIFA as they are doing, they should also settle the debts,” added Kamambo.

Acting ZIFA chief executive officer Xolisani Gwesela, however, appeared to contradict Kamambo, arguing Loga had been paid his terminal benefits and salary arrears.

t he conceded that the coach was owed US$55 000, being the 10 percent AFCON bonus. “We cleared all his salaries, what is only left is the 10 percent AFCON qualifying bonus, which he will get once we get the money from CAF,” said Gwesela.

RC acting director-general Sebastian Garikai said the regulator had not assumed ZIFA’s debts when the board was suspended.

He also indicated that the suspended ZIFA board could not transact any business on behalf of the association until their case had been resolved.

ZIFA’s top policy-making body, the Congress, are set to meet on April 3 for an extraordinary general meeting that will also table the issue of the board’s suspension by the SRC. It is, however, hoped that the Loga issue is not left unattended for too long, as it could have negative consequences on the local game.

In 2008, Brazilian coach Brazilian coach Valinhos (José Claudinei Georgini) approached FIFA after ZIFA and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) haggled over who was responsible of paying the US$60 000 debt owed to him.

The world soccer governing board subsequently ordered that the coach be paid and kicked Zimbabwe out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Zimbabwe also risked yet another FIFA ban over the US$180 000 debt that was owed to Tom Saintfiet, who had only lasted two days in charge of the Warriors before being deported.
(The Sunday Mail)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: