IAN “Dibango’’ Gorowa is now in prime position to take over as Warriors’ coach and will today take up his role in the team’s dressing room as one of the assistant coaches — eight months after his appointment to that post.
With Klaus Dieter Pagels confirming yesterday that he was leaving at the end of the month to take up a job as a sports teacher at a Germany school, the arrival of Gorowa tells the story of a baton that is being passed with the former Warriors’ star taking over as national coach.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube gave the biggest hint that they were settling on a local coach on Wednesday last week and yesterday he had a meeting with Gorowa, which was also attended by the association’s chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, in the capital.
The Warriors, who stepped up preparations for the defence of their Cosafa Cup title yesterday, are bracing for a cagey quarter-final assignment against rivals Malawi at Nkoloma Stadium here on Saturday.
Zimbabwe’s showdown with Malawi will precede another quarter-final clash between South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Brave Warriors of Namibia at the same venue.
Our correspondent reveals that Gorowa, who was appointed in December last year, is expected to immediately assume duties as one of Pagels’ assistants at the Warriors’ training session today and now looks set to be in the senior team’s delegation that will travel to Lusaka for the Cosafa tournament.
The other coaches who form Pagels’ backroom staff in the technical crew that replaced Rahman Gumbo’s team are FC Platinum’s Lloyd Mutasa, Peter Ndlovu and goalkeepers’ coach Nkululeko Dhlamini of Monomotapa.
Warriors’ legend Ndlovu is one of the assistants by virtue of being the national Under-23 coach while Gorowa, who is based in South Africa, had been tasked with monitoring the Warriors players who are plying their trade in that country and in Europe.
But the former Zimbabwe international, who has had coaching stints at Ajax Cape Town, Moroka Swallows, Thanda Zulu Royal and Mamelodi Sundowns, has never joined the Warriors in any of their training camps in the Pagels era.
Gorowa flew into Harare on Monday night and late yesterday afternoon he met with Dube and Mashingaidze to discuss his appointment.
It has also emerged that questions had recently been raised in the Zifa board over Gorowa’s apparent absence from the Warriors structures despite his appointment having been long ratified by the association’s leadership.
Repeated efforts to contact Dube or Mashingaidze for a comment were unsuccessful, but sources said Gorowa was expected to assume duties with the Warriors at their training session “now that he has met with the Zifa president and clarified on some various issues related to his appointment’’.
Gorowa, scorer of 11 goals in 26 appearances for the Warriors before a serious injury prematurely ended his playing career at the age of 29, is, apart from travelling to Lusaka for the Cosafa assignment, also expected to stay out for the African Nations Championships qualifier against Mauritius.
The Warriors, who have previously qualified for the last two editions of CHAN in Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan, are also pencilled in to face Mauritius in Antananarivo on July 28 for the qualifiers of the 2014 tournament in South Africa.
But it is during the on-going Cosafa tournament that Gorowa, one of the coaches always touted to be the future Warriors gaffer, could get a glimpse of the local material available for the senior team’s disposal after seeding years assessing those playing in the Super Diski.
“Ian was appointed a long time ago in December so his presence in the Warriors is not really a new thing. He even came some time ago and met with the head coach and Benedict Moyo (Zifa board member competitions)
“His absence from the Warriors set-up has been cause for concern within the board but he had some outstanding commitments in South Africa and it was felt that there was need for Ian and the Zifa president to meet to ensure the coach’s appointment is formalised as part of steps to follow through a board resolution,’’ the source said.
Crucially, though, is the indication by the sources that Gorowa could be primed to take over when Pagels’ current deal with Zifa expires at the end of this month.
The tall German coach arrived in the country on a government-to-government agreement in which he was appointed the Zifa technical advisor.
Zifa have, however, indicated that their limited financial resources may hinder them from handing Pagels a substantive contract as Warriors’ coach with the association once again seeking to turn to the locals for the job.
“The meeting was also meant to ensure that everything is regularised ahead of the team’s departure for Zambia and this whole thing is also futuristic as Zifa are trying to ensure they avoid continuing to wallow in interim set-ups.
“Ian has always been one of the options that are available for the substantive coach,’’ the source said.
Gorowa, just like many of the country’s top players, left to go to South Africa after playing for Dynamos and Black Rhinos.
He joined the now defunct Cape Town Spurs where he made a name for himself as striker and also an attacking winger, but a horrific knee injury cut short his career while playing for the club.
Gorowa, who also featured for the Warriors in the 1998 Cosafa Cup in a side that had the likes of Rabson Muchichwa, Tauya Murewa, Edelbert Dinha and Ndlovu, became an assistant coach at Spurs after his injury-forced retirement.
When Spurs merged with Seven Stars to form Ajax Cape Town, Gorowa was roped in by Ajax chief executive officer John Comitis as one of the development coaches.
He then went on to become the team’s assistant coach under Turkish mentor Muhsin Ertugral and the Urban Warriors managed to win the 2007 ABSA Cup — the club’s first major trophy since 2000.
Gorowa then joined Moroka Swallows on a three-year contract in June 2007 to replace Gavin Hunt, who had moved to SuperSport United Pitso Mosimane’s replacement.
Mosimane, now in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns, quit his post as SuperSport United after choosing to take up a full-time job as Carlos Alberto Parreira’s deputy in the Bafana Bafana dressing room and later succeeding the Brazilian.
Gorowa later parted ways with Moroka Swallows to join Thanda Royal Zulu as an assistant coach before moving to Sundowns where he briefly worked as head coach before being re-assigned.
Now as was the case with Mosimane in the Bafana Bafana set-up, Gorowa is now set to become the next Warriors gaffer after Pagels.
But tomorrow the 41-year-old coach will travel to Zambia for the Cosafa tournament as an assistant.
Meanwhile, the Cosafa tournament continued with action in Kitwe in Group B yesterday where Kenya ended Swaziland’s hopes by beating Sihlangu 2-0 in the first match with a goal in each half by Gor Mahia forward Edwin Lavasta sealing the Harambee Stars win.
Kenya drew 2-2 with Lesotho in their first game.
Dikuena (the Crocodiles) featured in a six-goal thriller against Botswana in a later match which ended 3-3 and ensured there is still all to play for in the group - Herald.