Zimbabwe coach Zdravko Logarušic could opt to do without inspirational captain Knowledge Musona in the dead rubber tie against neighbours Zambia as he carries two yellow cards.
Precedence has shown that suspensions from qualifiers are carried over to the tournament and the Croat is cautious about having to miss some players for the Warriors opener at the Nations Cup finals in Cameroon in January next year.
Pride will be at stake when the Warriors host battered Chipolopolo at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Monday in the final Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier.
The Warriors’ 1-0 triumph over Botswana was enough to book a spot for them at the next Afcon finals following Zambia’s 3-3 home draw against Algeria.
African champions Algeria had already sealed qualification with two games to spare leaving the trio of Zimbabwe, Botswana and basement team Zambia, who were separated by a point at each rung, to fight for qualification.
The 55-year-old Croat is fretting over fielding his best available stars who are on the verge of suspension, having accumulated two yellow cards so far and risk exposing them to more bookings.
“Going into this match we are facing a few problems. The first problem is that we have first team players sitting on two yellow cards and if you don’t use the players, then they will say why didn’t you use the players. If you use the players and they get yellow cards, then they will say why did you use the players?
“If you play them and they receive a yellow card in tomorrow’s match, they will miss the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations finals next year, which becomes a problem again,” said Loga, the first foreign coach to guide Zimbabwe to the Afcon finals.
One of those key players sitting on a yellow card is skipper Musona.
“Musona is injured and also has a yellow card. Some of the players have travelled long distances and have also played so many games in a space of a few days. It is something that you have to put on the table for a bigger picture.
“It is nice to have the best team on the field any day, but at the same time you have to see the bigger picture. I am not saying we have Team A, B, or C, those things do not exist. We have the Zimbabwe national football team, we have players that travelled to represent Zimbabwe and showcase their talent.
“We have some players that have played 10-15 minutes, which is not enough. We want to see if they have the capacity to be national team players. But how are we going to see that? We give them an opportunity to play,” said Loga.
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By FARPost Reporter