Despite the red hot start for Hajduk this season, apparently not all good things can las in Split. Ivan Leko has found this out the hard way and quite fast. After picking up three losses in his last five league games, Hajduk and Leko have parted ways. Leko was a familiar face to the fans of Hajduk. During his playing career, he made 157 appearances and scored 36 goals for Hajduk during two spells at the club. However, his playing status would not be enough to keep his job. Poor results and the fact that the fans had lost faith in Leko as manager showed that this decision was not far around the corner. Surprisingly though, Hajduk have already found a new manager. Mislav Karoglan has returned to Hajduk as their new manager since his last tenure back in 2022. The question on some peoples minds is: just exactly who is Karoglan?
Mislav Karoglan managed Hajduk briefly in the winter of 2022, where he went 7-3-0 in 10 matches. More recently Karoglan managed Istra this season for three matches. Notably during that reign, Istra got their only point with Karoglan in a 4-4 thrilling draw against Osijek. He also had odd-end managerial jobs with clubs like Zadar and Croatia Zmijavci.
Karoglan got his start with Hajduk in their academy system in 2019 when he was an appointed U-17 manager. He held this position for two years until he was promoted to assistant coach in 2021. He served this duty until the winter of 2022 where he was given the helm after Valdas Dambrauskas was sacked.
Karoglan had an unorthodox playing career. He struggled to find form in countries like Bosnia, Croatia, Israel and Slovakia. He never found his stride until late in his career where he became an influential player in Singapore. During his spell at Warriors FC in Singapore Karoglan scored 66 goals in 98 matches. Overall it seems Karoglan’s connections at Hajduk have paid off as he has been given a second chance to come back and manage the club; this time with far higher stakes. Karoglan will start his campaign off lightly with his opening three matches being against Slaven Belupo, NK Jadran Luka Ploče (Cup match), and Rudeš. The speed in which Karoglan was announced makes it seem as if he was a planned back-up for Leko. The only question for Karoglan: can handle the interim manager role this time around with a lot more riding on Hajduk’s success?