Stephen Abugri and Bobby Ogolla are men who finally share so much in common, actually would the two meet today, they would be not short of topics to discuss- one of them I guess would be on one man, Zdravko Logarusic.
Abugri is the man who acted as coach of King Faisal after the unceremonious departure of Zdravko Logarusic to Kenya from Ghana. Today Bobby, almost 15 months after watching his boss walk into the country- is a lonely man again. He’s got a whole sheep to steer, we don’t know how long, but with faint rumours of a new man getting to the helm of Gor Mahia, he might be here for longer in his second ‘acting’ spell.
Flash back, Flash back- March 29th, a team in crisis (1W, 2D, 3L)- Gor Mahia are facing one of the toughest starts to a league season in the recent history of the club. Anaba Awono gone, Bobby in his first ‘acting’ spell and the ship looks wrecked even before the sailing begins.
Step up Zdravko Logarusic, A croat- difficult name to pronounce, his mastery of the English language leaves a few in stitches but the seriousness lingering in his eyes kills off any thoughts of an unprecedented burst out.
Now gone, maybe never to set foot again on Kenyan soil as Gor Mahia coach- with the club announcing they have sacked him superfoota.com looks back at what Zdravko found and what he left of the club- Gor Mahia.
Discipline and Direction
“Some players have become comfortable, very comfortable at this club and changes are coming in June (transfer prayers).”
The above words might haunt some players, but it’s the bitter truth. Gor Mahia had fast degenerated into a laissez-faire type of club. The signings lacked purpose, who came for training, who didn’t come never mattered at all. Match day squads seemed to have their picks and even rumours of the coach (Zico and later Anaba) being bribed by players to get playing time went round.
I wouldn’t pick on any who was dropped last year during the mid-season break but with all due respect, it’s a glaring truth- most of them would still get a first XI position had either Zico or Anaba been still the coach.
Suddenly Gor Mahia looked like a team with direction with Zdravko at the helm- one leader, several sheep but all under the leader’s watch.
I’m never sure how this will develop now after Logarusic’s exit but one fact remains- he set the basic’s right for a future coach to build on.
Belief and a style of play
“We emphasized on players’ discipline which is starting to pay off and this is just the start of big changes here because the team is very young and we are aiming high”
15th April 2012- City stadium Nairobi, Sofapaka under coach Salim Ali (Now Ulinzi Head Coach) went down 1 nil courtesy a Rama Salim first halfpenalty. For a team that had no good history with penalties- the belief suddenly was there.
The above quote I would say, perfectly merges this part of the Logarusic story to the above on discipline and Direction.
For a man who seemed to have been thoroughly convicted by the Legion of Gor Mahia, washed in a blood of green and white and oozing with ‘unfamiliar’ confidence- the 11th spot position gained on that day probably heralded the start of a change in the mind-set of these group of players.
With such belief it at times never mattered whether Gor Mahia played the prettiest of football but when they were in tune boy- they surely blended their opponents in terrific proportions.
Unlike in previous regimes; it was clear who played where and how he wanted it played. With every player forming an integral part of a performance- it’s only fair to note the very best stood out in most situations and rightfully so but ‘good’ would best describe most performances.
I’m not sure how many people saw Gor Mahia as title contenders in the same light they view them today.
I’m not sure how many players wished they would get a chance to work under such an environment like most would have wished just before his departure.
I’m not sure how many coaches feared the type of opposition Zdravko always provided no matter the league position- type of players at his disposal or even events surrounding the club.
So much has changed within a short span of time, the question is- how much more now will change? I wouldn’t want to dwell so much on his personal relations with people outside the jurisdictions of him being a coach but I thought he fought every single day for his players, for his club and for the fans.
For one of the tales I’m never gonna forget and I know Zdravko too wouldn’t forget is when he personally had to Hurl Rama Salim out of National team training something that never went down well with the authorities. The debacle was finally solved but I guess it left lot’s of bitter mouths and swollen lumps along the way.
I’m never sure how to best talk about this but having into account Gor Mahia’s financial strain and not just Gor Mahia but several clubs included- it might have been greedy for Zdravko at times to demand for so much.
Yes it should be understood he forked out results for the team and brought back some pride but it’s only noble at times to work within the strengths of the club.
On the playing unit, I’m not sure if Logarusic leaves a very long term impact on the squad. A few would love to say he wasn’t there for so long but I tend to believe he is this kind of ‘now’ results person. I watch somebody like Abbey Natty and bow my head in shame- it just can’t be ‘accept and move on’ all the time.
While the club claims to have bought the player on the advice of the coach, it’s a shame he had to be dropped after just about 5/6 months of no first team football. This sets a bad precedence and a fear generates in players that during ‘dry spells’ the worst might just happen.
How it plays out from here for Gor Mahia and Zdravko Logarusic in their respective worlds is left to be seen. Each in his own right has a choice but for you the reader- Do you think Zdravko left Gor Mahia a better place than he found it, or do you think the guy leaves Gor Mahia with so much pain to deal with?