HAD he not been dismissed this week as Zimbabwe’s national football team coach, Zdravko Logarušić was set for an extraordinary return to the settings of a forgettable ordeal four years ago, where he was hounded out by a hulking and menacing local linked to an African royal family.
Ghana will host bottom-of-the-table Zimbabwe in the next match of 2022 World Cup qualifying fixtures on 6 October in Cape Coast, a charming coastal town in central Ghana.
Both teams, struggling in Group G of the qualifiers, will be under new supervision after firing coaches Charles Akonnor and Logarušić this week in the space of 24 hours following disappointing starts to the campaign.
For Croatian Logarušić – sent packing by Zimbabwe on Sunday – it would have been an interesting return to the West African country, where he was fired by Ghanaian club giants Asante Kotoko in 2017 after spending just three months at the helm.
Two-time African champions Kotoko, based in the city of Kumasi in Ghana’s mineral-rich Ashanti region, finally lost patience with Logarušić after the club kept failing to assert its title credentials under the well-travelled coach.
Jude Owusu, an authoritative Ghanaian sports journalist working for Fox FM, this week told The NewsHawks of Logarušić’s tumultuous short spell in charge of Kotoko, which included an unpleasant visit from one muscular and furious fan.
“When results were not forthcoming, they (Asante Kotoko) felt that they had to sack him (Logarušić),” Owusu told us from Kumasi.
“So what they did was that they deployed a strategy. Based on the contract they had with Logarušić, if they had to sack him, obviously they had to pay compensation. So interestingly this is what they did: they actually delegated one of their strong supporters, a well-built guy, he goes by the name Seidu, a very stubborn guy, who actually even happens to be very close to the Royal Majesty. He’s an errand boy for the powerful King, that’s the Ashante King. He’s an errand boy for him, and a very strong Kotoko fan. So what the club did was that they wanted to make life uncomfortable for him (Logarušić), for him to subsequently leave the shores of Ghana, without paying any compensation.”
Owusu described how Seidu, a huge bear of a man with a fiery temper, delivered the chilling message to Logarušić.
“So this guy was actually sent to the training ground of Asante Kotoko, the place is called Adako-Jachie, that’s where Kotoko train,” Owusu said.
“The very moment he arrived, within some few minutes, Zdravko Logarušić was expected to train his players. So Logarušić interestingly arrived there. You know, what happened, this machoman, this Seidu guy, actually asked him why he had come to the training ground! He said he had come to train his players, and interestingly this Seidu guy told him that he was no longer needed. I mean, can you imagine, a fan, he was just a fan of Kotoko, he was not a management member of Asante Kotoko, he was just a supporter of the club! He decided to sack Zdravko Logarušić! It was so interesting, he told him he was no longer needed at Asante Kotoko, that he had to leave, before officially management held a meeting and told him they no longer needed him. Mid-way through the season, they sacked him.” Logarušić left the Kotoko job in April 2017, and characteristically not without a few parting words. “You know, one interesting aspect also is that, when he was sacked, the first interview that he granted was to a radio station,” Owusu said.
“The radio station’s name is Light FM, and that radio station happens to be owned by the former CEO of Asante Kotoko. He’s a guru, they call him Dr Kwame Kyei. Currently he is the board chairman of Asante Kotoko. He (Logarušić) granted an interview on that network, and you know what he told them, he told them that he accepts the fact that he did not do well, but he promised to come back to Ghana as a better coach (…laughs), that was what he said!”
Far off the mark! With one win in 14 matches as coach of Zimbabwe, Loga clearly has not become a better coach. And he will not be going back to Ghana, at least for the time being, following his sacking as Warriors coach this week.