When he jetted into the country in 2012 to coach record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, football fanatics saw Zdravko Logarusic as a foreign coach with a heavy ‘zvic’ accent.
In fact, many of the K’Ogalo fans branded him just among a host of foreign legion of tacticians the club uses to sell false hopes.
Eleven years down the line, Logarusic is not only a household name in Kenya, but East Africa and Africa at large.
His exit from Gor might have been muddy but surely, Gor’s 21st-century rise is credited to the Croatian tactician albeit with a lot of mixed reactions.
Commonly referred to as ‘Loga’ by his fanatics, the 57-year-old experienced tactician is hugely credited with helping Gor end its 18-year-old title drought when he turned K’Ogalo from whipping boys in 2012 to champions in 2013.
The Croatian turned Edwin Lavatsa, Rama Salim, and Dan Sserunkuma into stars to behold in the K’Ogalo attack, while Musa Mohammed, David Owino, and Jerim Onyango made Gor’s defense impenetrable.
Former Uganda Cranes and Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson might have lifted the trophy but it was Logarusic who began the wave of success which has seen Gor Mahia lift eight titles in the 11 seasons played since 2012.
Fast forward to today, the FKF Premier League is home again to Logarusic who joined Kenya Police last week on Friday after the club parted ways with Francis Baraza.
Baraza was shown the door after failing to win any of their four opening matches of the 2023-2024 season.
The former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards coach began his stint at Police with a 1-0 victory against Bidco United. This was the law enforcers' first win of the season which also lifted them out of the relegation zone.
Logarusic, known for his exciting interviews, said they still have a lot of work to do while acknowledging the talent at the club.
“It’s a good start and I am happy to be back. We still have a lot of work to do since I believe we have the talent in the team and with the right structures and strategy, we can get this boat sailing again," he said.
“We want to build on this win since our season has just began."
Posta Rangers lead the league standings with 13 points, four points ahead of defending champions Gor Mahia and newbies Murang’a SEAL, who are joint-second after the opening five rounds of the 2023-2024 season.
Rangers and Gor are the only teams yet to taste defeat this season while AFC Leopards, Sofapaka, and fanatics Shabana are still chasing their first win of the season.
Meanwhile, it was a sight to behold as fans of AFC Leopards and Shabana thronged the Ulinzi Sports Complex for their league match on Sunday.
The newly refurbished facility was full to the brim as Ingwe and Shabana fans painted the stadium red and blue, creating a wonderful atmosphere that nowadays can only be witnessed during local political rallies and evangelism crusades.
The local league had lost its touch on Kenyans and perhaps the match was a sign of the old good days returning.