Coach’s Dismissal After 37 Days Throws Spotlight On Balkan Gaffers

IT has always been a topical, if not controversial, subject in African football — the quality, or lack of quality, of coaches from the Balkan Peninsula, who flood Africa, in search of jobs.

There is a group that believes in them, which explains why many of them have ended up securing some top jobs, while there is also a group that doesn’t believes in them.

Whatever the case, the fate of one of them, Zlatko Krmpotic, has given a new twist to this debate.

The 62-year-old Serbian coach has been fired by Tanzanian giants, Young Africans, after only 37 days in the job.

“Young Africans Sports Club hereby informs its fans, members and stakeholders that it has reached mutual agreement to terminate its relationship with its head coach Zlatko Krmpotic,” club acting secretary general, Simon Patrick, said in a statement.

“Young Africans Sports Club would like to thank Mr Zlatko for his professionalism while at the club and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

The Serb, who also has Croatian citizenship, was dismissed just after leading the club to a victory over Coastal Union to take them to the top of the table in the Tanzania Premier League.

Under his leadership, Yanga had taken 13, out of 15 points, in their five league matches, winning four and drawing one.

Given what appears to have been an encouraging start, speculation is now rife as to what could have led to the divorce just 37 days into the union.

“Krmpotic engaged players to low-quality training sessions with the players and some key players were not satisfied with what he was doing,” sources told

“There was a time (Yanga official Senzo) Mbatha made an impromptu visit to the training ground, and he was not satisfied with what he saw.

“He managed to convince the main sponsor Hersi Said of GSM to accompany him the next time he went, and the duo agreed something had to be done, and that is how the fate of the coach was sealed.

“He was to be released on Friday but that could have destabilised the team ahead of the crucial Coastal Union tie, so they had to wait until the game was played.

“We had some players who had to hide and go train by themselves, even at night, just to be fit, some players also had to book extra minutes for gym sessions to be fit.

“In short, the coach had lost the dressing room just because of his way of training.”

Yet, the same club had hailed him, for his experience in coaching on the continent, when they brought him on board at the end of August.

“The experience (Zlatko) has of handling teams in Africa gave him the job,” the club said back then.

“We gave him the job because he has worked in Africa before, he has coached Zesco United in Zambia and even Polokwane City in South Africa.

“We have asked him to sign two more players of his choice, if he wants players from outside he feels he can work with, we don’t have a problem, we are ready to hire the players for him.”

In February 2012, Krmpotic left Kazakh side, FC Kairat Almaty, in controversial circumstances.

The club were involved in a battle against relegation, after a poor season, but the coach packed his bags and left the team three months before the expiry of his contract. Some Kairat players then claimed the coach was involved in some shady financial transactions.

He has coached in Sweden, Macedonia, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Kuwait, DRC, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

His stay at Pokowane City, where he was the coach of Zimbabwe international goalkeeper, George Chigova, lasted only 113 days before his dismissal.

“It is with regret that we announce the departure of Zlatko Krmpotic as the head coach of Polokwane City Football Club,” the South African side said in a statement.

“Despite the best efforts of the club, the head coach and all parties involved with the club, recent results on the field of play, have, unfortunately, not gone in our favour.

“This has prompted the club and the head coach to reconsider the position of Zlatko as the head coach of the club.

“In the circumstances, pursuant to a meeting between the club chairman, Mr. Johnny Mogaladi and the head coach it was agreed, in the best interests of the club, that the club and head coach part ways in an amicable manner.

“Accordingly, the parties have signed a mutual termination of their contract of employment with immediate effect.

“As of this morning, Zlatko has been relieved of his duties and is no longer the head coach of Polokwane City FC.”

Krmpotic lasted just 159 days at Rwandan side, APR FC, another 189 days at Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana while he also spent just 165 days at Zesco United in Zambia.

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