NAIROBI, Kenya, June 26- The love/hate marriage between Gor Mahia and Croat coach, Zdravko Logarusic came to an end on Tuesday evening when he was fired as the K’Ogalo’s tactician bringing an end to one of the most fascinating coaching soap operas in the nation.
The colourful 15-month tenure for the man who proudly wore a shirt emblazoned with Luo Inside after guiding the 12-time national league champions to the Top 8 and FKF Cup triumphs last season ran its course after he declined to return from his native country.
In a statement published on SuperSport.com, Gor’s administration lost patience with a man who apparently used his popularity amongst the K’Ogalo faithful to arm-twist them, the latest being his failure to resume duty after taking a mid season break.
“He didn’t respond to us even when he decided to extend his stay and we have decided to fire him. He absconded duties and instead decided to communicate through emails making demands,” an official told the website.
His assistant, Bobby Ogolla, who masterminded a nervous 2-1 win over Karuturi Sport last weekend in Nakuru will be on interim charge as Gor seek a replacement for the man who enchanted and dismayed in equal measure.
Last season, Logarusic was named the KPL Coach of the Year after the cup double and also missing out on the league title by a whisker. He led Gor to a sequence of 20 unbeaten matches and a win on the final day would have given K’Ogalo their first title since 1995.
Despite Gor thriving on the pitch, Logarusic who is said to have been on a Sh500,000 monthly pay, easily the most lucrative for a Kenyan club coach, was often at loggerhead with the club’s administration.
In September last year, he threatened to lead his players to boycott playing over unpaid allowances and the officials yielded.
Logarusic came back from another of his breaks in February to find the club had signed a Brazilian, Rodriguez and one training session later, the ‘Samba Boy’ who clearly lacked the groove was sent packing from the side, in a move that rubbed some officials the wrong way.
“I don’t care what the fans say but players for me must talk on the field that is the only place they should talk, it does not matter whether they come from Brazil, Scotland or Zambia.
“Today, he talked outside the field but we brought him to talk in the field and the judge is Zradvko Logarusic and Logarusic is a tough judge,” the Croat tactician asserted at the time.
He extended a similar had line towards his stars, with the fan favourite Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth and Victor Ali Abondo among those who saw their stay at Gor ended by the no-nonsense tactician.
“Some players have become comfortable, very comfortable at this club and changes are coming in June (transfer prayers). Those who are not willing to play for Gor will be out of the team. We have other players outside who want to come here and play,” he raged after K’Ogalo were held to a barren draw by bottom side Kakamega Homeboyz in Mumias in April.
Above all, Logarusic commanded gossip pages this month when it was claimed he had made some players unhappy after stealing their girlfriends.
“The coach who has been spotted in various night spots is rumoured to be vying the attention of media personalities, top models and dozens of female fans of Gor Mahia.
“A disgruntled player whom we interviewed claimed that he has nowadays been forced to leave his girlfriend at home while going for training. A female university has also claimed to have dated the coach and his player. She claimed that the coach had promised her milk and honey which turned out to be empty promises,” gossip site Uhondo254 reported.
Ghana’s second tier club King Faisal threatened to report him to Fifa for a dramatic u-turn that saw him sign with Gor Mahia despite reaching an agreement with them.