NAIROBI, April 7- Deep into Kenya Derby week, uncertainty continues to dog AFC Leopards with contrasting reports from The Den on the fate of Croat head coach, Zradvko Logarusic ahead of their first explosive clash of the season against bitter rivals and KPL champions, Gor Mahia on Sunday.
Part of the club’s management insist the firebrand former Gor coach; who is a vital ingredient in firing up the occasion at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium; insist he is still in charge, other quarters claim he has abandoned the team with further allegations he has left the country altogether.
Logarusic was missing in the team’s 1-1 draw against Thika United on Sunday with reports claiming the former Tanzania’s Simba SC tactician refused to travel with the team in Mumias until his March and April salary arrears are settled.
Club chairman Allan Kasavuli told Capital Sport Logarusic was still in the country and he only missed the Mumias encounter with personal reasons.
“Logarusic is around and he led the team through today’s (Tuesday) training so those are just fabrications. He will be available on Sunday during the derby,” the chairman stated.
His organising secretary, Timothy Lilumbi declined to comment on the coach’s fate saying, “
“Don’t ask whereabouts of Logarusic; ask me about the team because we are preparing well for the derby. We arrived yesterday from Mumias and everybody is in camp at least Satan has not visited us this time,” Lilumbi told this website in reference to the turmoil that has plagued the local giants in recent weeks.
Financial challenges that have hindered the team’s preparation with players boycotting training on severally demanding salary and bonus arrears have plagued The Den into the fourth month.
Assistant head coach, Yussuf Chippo who was in charge against Thika called on club management to urgently resolve the matter to enable players perform better on the pitch.
“The players need motivation, I’m thankful they gave us a point against Thika despite facing problems now and them. I believe we will put our house in order so that we can start getting results,” Chippo underscored.
The Croat head coach further exacerbated the situation by labelling most of his players as ‘passengers’ in remarks said to have caused acrimony in the squad and made the club the butt of social media jokes on Tuesday.
– Outstanding debts-
Ingwe who have two wins, two draws and a single loss in five KPL matches are set to hold a fundraising in May to enable them offset outstanding debts after shirt sponsor Mumias Sugar suspended funding the club for three months due to financial constraints.
“As players we decided to play despite the situation because it’s our career and we gave it our best against Thika. We were given Sh25, 000 each by the management for the players to honour the fixture because we had declined to travel to Mumias.
“They told us our outstanding balance will be cleared next week after gate collections from the derby. We are preparing well and everyone is training,” one of the players who sought anonymity told Capital Sport.
If Logarusic will be in the dugout on Sunday, the Croatian will meet his former side, K’Ogalo for the first time since departing in 2012 after leading them to GOtv Shield and KPL runners up behind Tusker FC who defended the title.