NAIROBI, July 27 – If you thought cash strapped AFC Leopards had buried unrest in the Den after a leadership change following a troubled Kenyan Premier League first-leg, think again.
On Monday, interim executive committee officials were scrambling to convince head coach, Zradvko Logarusic, to return back to work after his ‘donkey’ got tired of toiling without pay.
The Croat followed through his boycott through last week by refusing to accompany the team to their potential banana skin trip to play Sony Sugar in the melting cauldron of Awendo Green Stadium.
‘Loga’ as he is affectionately known, is demanding two-month dues in unpaid salary and bonuses, a broken chorus that has preyed on the Kenyan giants throughout the season.
Club acting Secretary General, Prof. Asava Kadima told Capital Sport the Croat has turned down meetings with management unless his arrears that have topped Sh1m (USD9,843) are settled.
“Logarusic’s salary is hefty but we had paid him half. Unfortunately, he has failed to understand the financial situation of the club. The coach absconded duties the whole of last week so we will evaluate and see how we can reach an agreement.
“Communication is very important but he doesn’t want to understand where we are coming from. We remind the coach he is obliged to be on duty. We will still request him to have a meeting so that we can bridge the gap,” Kadima underlined.
It is the second time the fiery Croat will be missing from the dugout due to unpaid dues after declining to travel with the team to Mumias in their first-leg clash against Thika United in April where they were held to a 1-1 draw.
Despite the financial challenges that sparked a mass exodus of seasoned players at the Den, Logarusic managed to guide the new-look Ingwe to three wins and a loss in four second leg matches.
His absence will be felt though the Secretary General maintains there is nothing to worry about as assistant coaches, Yussuf Chippo and Ezekiel Akwana will guide the team against a wounded Sony side.
“The team is in safe hands. Chippo has trained them in the absence of Logarusic so I don’t think there will be any problem. We have been in touch with the team and they are geared for the match,” Kadima added.
Ingwe have been depending on well wishers with the Sh5.5m raised in June’s fundraiser exhausted after it was used to off-set part of the arrears accruing to the coach and players.
“Out of the Sh5.5m (USD54,136.52) we raised, Sh1.2 (USD11,811.6) was in pledges we are yet to receive to date but I thank the fans being supportive. We are planning to conduct another fundraiser on August 7.
“We have also enrolled to get regular contributions through the mobile phone service pay bill number *245# that has two categories, the first is Ingwe Mashinani where fans can contribute Sh300 a month while 1K Club will see fans contribute Sh1000 monthly,” Kadima explained.
A win for Leopards against Sony will propel them to second on 37 points, nine behind leaders and arch rivals Gor Mahia who are away on Cecafa Kagame Cup duties.