NAIROBI, September 21 – AFC Leopards head coach, Zdravko Logarusic, is concerned about the fitness of his charges after they laboured to progress to the third round of the GOtv Shield knock-out tournament over the weekend.
It took the Croatian’s magic to turn fortunes around when he introduced substitutes- Denis Dodi and Lamin Diallo- who scored to help Leopards overcome National Super League side, Wazito FC 2-1.
Go-slows have been the order of the day in The Den with players boycotting training on several occasions after going three months without pay disrupting their training programme.
“Our problem is that I have seven players on the bench in any particular match but only one is always fit. The rest can only play for 20 minutes.
“Against Wazito, Bernard Mang’oli couldn’t play at all, Diallo although he scored the second goal, he told me he can only play for15 since he was under medication, Duncan Otieno didn’t train the entire week.
“Also we have our players who are a bit old, Ivan Anguyo and Joseph Njuguna but they are trying that’s why I take risks in every match we play and sometimes it pays sometimes it doesn’t. My job is to make decisions,” the 53-year-old former Gor Mahia tactician, said.
Lack of fitness has been evident in some of Ingwe matches in the SportPesa Premier League where they are seeking to fight to qualify for next season’s KPL Top 8 with four matches to wrap up a nightmare 2015 campaign.
Logarusic, who joined the 13-time champions this season, has been a source of inspiration to the team having managed to bring them back on track after returning from a four-game absence to guide them to a 1-0 league win over Western Stima that ended a six-match winless run.
“It doesn’t matter how much time I spend in the changing room to tell my players what they are supposed to do but people should know it’s not easy,” Logarusic added.
Despite the management woes that has seen two factions claim to be in control, the head coach who won the Shield with K’Ogalo in 2012 is focused on returning Ingwe to the continental competition and reclaiming the domestic cup they last won in 2013.
Leopards, placed sixth in the Premier League on 38 points, face a tough test this weekend when they battle it out with Tusker FC in the KPL Top 8 quarter-finals.
Ingwe will play their final match behind closed match against Sofapaka when the league resumes in October before tackling Mathare United, Muhoroni Youth and Tusker.