'Luogarusic' is Simba in Tanzania

Media reports has it that simba club bought him a house along the beach

Zdravko Logarusic is a household name in Kenyan football. 

The 2012 Kenya Premier League Coach of the Year was appointed by Tanzania’s football power house Simba SC to replace dismissed coach Abdallah Kibaden (King Mputa)

— an old man with passion for soccer and  alongside his talkative assistant Jamhuri Kihwello (Julio). 

 ‘Loga’s’ arrival to Tanzania was greeted with jubilation as a contingent of die-hard Simba fans thronged the Dar es Salaam airport to welcome him.

For a club that dismissed their coach due to non-performance, ‘Loga’s’ work at Simba was well cut-out, and his first major assignment was against Simba’s bitter rivals Young Africans Sports Club, Yanga. In a derby famously dubbed ‘Nani mtani jembe?’ ‘Loga’ carried the day and was on the front page of almost all leading newspapers in Tanzania and the dozens commonly referred to as ‘magazeti za udaku’ (tabloids).

Bingwa newspaper had the screaming headline, ‘Logarusic Kiboko’ while Championi had ‘Logarusic Jembe!’

Multimillion-shilling house

What has followed is a string of good results and many Tanzanians continue to pile praises on the former Gor tactician to an extent that despite him operating on a six-month contract, Simba officials have decided to get him a new house.

A section of the Tanzanian press and bloggers recently reported that ‘Loga’ was handed a multimillion-shilling house.

BongoStaz wrote: “Klabu ya Simba, imefanikiwa kumpatia nyumba ya kuishi, kocha wake Zdravko Logarusic maeneo ya Kunduchi karibu na ufukwe wa bahari ya Hindi, mkabala na hoteli ya Wet n Wild, Dar es Salaam (Simba Club has bought a house at the shore of the Indian Ocean in Kunduchi opposite Wet n Wild Hotel in Dar es Salaam).”

But it seems ‘Loga’s’ leadership style has not changed much.On January 10, Tanzania’s Guardian newspaper reported that ‘Loga’ criticised the ‘Bagamoyo Declaration’ which, among other things, requires clubs to have only three foreign players.

His remarks came in the wake of a plan to sign former Gor Mahia’s midfielder Ali Hassan Abondo who plies his trade with Tusker FC.

The ghost of controversy

Loga raided Gor’s turf during the December transfer window and signed defender Donald Mosoti and Tanzanian keeper Ivo Mapunda.

 “Abondo was my player when I was with Gor Mahia last year. He joined Tusker FC recently. If I will remain with Simba, I will look at the possibility of signing him to strengthen the squad,” ‘Loga’ told The Guardian.

 But the ghost of controversy just could not let ‘Loga’ be. Last month, he was reportedly involved in an open outburst that resulted to bad blood between the Croat and a Ugandan international defender Joseph Owino.

Paul Sewe, a Kenyan sports expert living in Dar predicts that with the current feuds between ‘Loga’ and key players such like Owino and Betram Mwombeki, he may be kicked out before the end of the season, unless he convinces Simba fans and the administration

— under the chairmanship of fiery MP from Tabora, Ishmael Aden Rage

— that he can deliver trophies.

He does not speak Kiswahili

 Sewe further says Loga has a difficult relationship with the media in Tanzania since he does not speak Kiswahili. On several occasions the Croat has had to retract and recant statements alleging that he was misquoted.

 “To me, the media people try to read his personality which is warlike and that is what fuels the reportage. Sadly the portrayal of him is not the best. The message for my six pence is simple; we do not like your persona,” he says. Before leaving Gor in May, ‘Loga’ had complained over poor pay. “I have to go since I need time to relax and stay away from football. Don’t ask me about my return because I don’t know when I’ll come back. They couldn’t pay me, what should I do?” posed the then Gor Mahia’s head coach as he was preparing to take his flight back to Croatia last May 29.

 The Croat was la cult hero among the Green Army fans, who christened   him, ‘Long-Arus’, ‘Luogarusic’.

 Sewe sums up ‘Loga’s’ fate: “I pray for the former K’Ogalo coach that he stays in Dar es Salaam longer for reasons that have nothing to do with his profession but the good things in life which the city offers in plenty; the sandy beaches, the sun and oh yes, women!”