By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa
Zimbabwe senior national team, Warriors, have been drawn against West African giants Senegal in the historic 20th edition of the 2021 COSAFA Cup tournament which is scheduled for 7-18 July at Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.
This was confirmed during the COSAFA Cup competition draw which took place today (Thursday) at 11 am in the host city, Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
The Lions of Teranga (Senegal) are officially this year’s guests in a tournament which usually featured Southern African teams only.
Both Senegal and Zimbabwe have been placed in Group C with Mozambique and Namibia.
This is arguably the tournament’s group of death as compared to Group A and Group B.
Group A consits of hosts South Africa, Lesotho,Eswatini, Botswana whilst Group B will see defending champions Zambia play against Malawi, Madagascar and Comoros.
This year’s tournment will see a bit of changes interms of how the teams qualify to the next stage of the competition.
According to COSAFA, “Only the top team in each group and the best placed runner-up will advance to the semifinals in what is a change in formation for the tournament this year.
“That means each side is guaranteed three games up to a maximum of five,” COSAFA wrote on the website.
Meanwhile, amid Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament has come as a blessing in disguise to a number of teams who are participants, particularly the Warriors.
This comes after ZIFA failed to secure a friendly match for the senior national team during the FIFA calender, as the federation bemoaned financial crisis.
Despite all this, thanks to COSAFA as coach Logarusic is likely determined to utilise this opportunity as preparation for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup (WC) qualifiers slated for November.
In these WC qualifiers Zimbabwe is in Group G with Ghana, South Africa (SA) and Ethopia and they will their opening match with neighbours Bafana Bafana (SA).
Meanwhile, in the history of the COSAFA Cup only five teams have managed to win the trophy.
Zimbabwe will go into this tournament as the record holders interms of tittles won, they have lifted the coveted trophy six times, while Zambia has had it five times, South Africa four times, Angola three times and Namibia only won it once.
Now with the COSAFA record at hand, the biggest question goes to coach Logarusic, could the 55-year-old Warriors gaffer mantain the COSAFA Cup glory?
Obviously ever Warriors fan expects him to safe guard the COSAFA Cup territory, though unfortunately with Covid-19 hindering some of his preparations, will the Crot be able to bring the trophy home? Thats another question.
Nonetheless, as the Warriors overseer, Loga has succesfully became the first foreign coach to lead Zimbabwe to their historical third AFCON finals which are slated for January 2022, after beating Botswana 1-0 in March.
However, COSAFA Cup will be the former Sudanese national team coach’s second major tournament since he assumed the Warriors managerial job in 2020
His first competitive tournament was the CHAN competition that was held in Cameroon in January 2021.
Doubtfully, Loga wouldn’t want to remember this tournament, because his troops comprising of local based players only, displayed a dismal performance which saw them becaming the first team to be knocked out of the prestigious competition.
They lost all group stages fixtures, returned home without a single point except to score one goal courtesy of Patson Jaure.
They also set a new record, became the first Warriors team to concede the highest number of goals at a CHAN tournament ever.