The Warriors have accused the hosts of turning to the dark arts to influence the result of the tournament opener
Zimbabwe coach Zdravko Logarusic has accused hosts Cameroon of ‘witchcraft’ before their African Nations Championship opener in Yaounde on Saturday, during which the Indomitable Lions won 1-0.
A photograph was shared with Goal before the match which depicted the Croat coach displaying the carcass of a ship, amid a symbol which reads ‘witchcraft in Cameroon’ before the 2 sides’ Chan bow.
CHAN 2021 opener in Yaoundé overshadowed by pre-match accusations of witchcraft from the hosts by Zimbabwe coach Logarusic after a bat carcass is found on the pitch
Complete coincidence or foul play?#CHAN2021#CMRZIM pic.twitter.com/TjaJA1YFLV
— Ed Dove (@EddyDove) January 16, 2021
The fixture, happening at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, was played ahead of a quarter-full stadium after the Confederation of African Football allowed some fans to access the fixtures during the biennial competition.
Despite being hosts, Cameroon’s chances within the tournament are questioned, with a series of underwhelming performances within the build-up, even with the presence of Africa Cup of Nations-winning striker Jacques Zoua.
Zimbabwe is among the rank outsiders for the tournament—exclusively for home-based players—because their domestic league has been suspended for the simplest part of a year.
The Chan opener is that the first time many of Logarusic’s troops will see competitive action for the primary time in approximately nine months.
This would not be the primary time that Cameroon has been accused of resorting to the dark arts to influence a competitive fixture.
In the Afcon 2002 semi-final between Mali and therefore the Indomitable Lions, Cameroon coach Winfried Schafer and goalkeeping coach (and national team legend) Thomas Nkono were arrested by riot police after allegedly placing a charm on the pitch before the fixture.
“We are not anymore willing to ascertain witch doctors on the pitch than cannibals at the concession stands,” said a spokesperson for Caf within the aftermath of a previous incident involving the Nigerian Football Association at the 2000 edition of the Nations Cup.
Ahead of the tournament, Logarusic had been realistic—if somewhat downbeat about Zim’s Chan chances.
“Anyway, we’ll try our greatest to ascertain how things go,” he told Caf. “We have tried our greatest because the technical team to offer most players within the top-flight an opportunity to prove themselves.
“We will definitely try our greatest. we’d like to enhance in every area of the sport and hopefully, by the time we leave for Chan, we’ll be in better shape as a team,” the 54-year-old added.
“The players haven’t played football for eight, nine months, and needless to say every aspect of their game must be improved.”
In the other A-game, Mali defeated Burkina Faso 1-0.