THE Zimbabwe Football Association has started looking for a replacement for Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels as the German’s contract comes to an end July 31.
Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town assistant coach Ian Gorowa has emerged as the favorite to take over from Pagels when his contract expires.
Gorowa is in Harare and on Tuesday held talks with ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube to see whether ‘Dibango’, as he is affectionately known, is interested in the post.
ZIFA chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze could not be reached to shed light on this development but highly placed sources say the former Dynamos and Black Rhinos striker flew into the country Monday for the crucial meeting at ZIFA’s expense.
This also follows revelations Tuesday that ZIFA have not offered Pagels a contract extension. The coach would be going back to Germany when his term ends.
Although Pagels is in Zimbabwe on a government-to-government agreement until February next year, he says there is no program for him between now and then which would force him to leave for his homeland.
Gorowa has been a favorite for the current ZIFA board and at one time was appointed one of the assistant coaches to Norman Mapeza. At that time, he was given a special role to monitor foreign-based players but did not take up the post due to his other engagements in South Africa.
ZIFA cannot re-hire crowd favorites Mapeza and Sunday Chidzambwa as the two have dragged the association to court over non-payment of salaries during the time they were employed by the association.
ZIFA, through Dube, says it is interested in hiring a local coach for the Warriors.
Meanwhile, Pagels is confident his charges will make their mark when they start the defence of the Cosafa Castle Cup against Malawi in a quarterfinal tie on Saturday at the Nkoloma
Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia.
Since taking over from Rahman Gumbo, Pagels is yet to win a competitive match and the regional tournament remains his best chance to leave Zimbabwe on a high.
Pagels had a full house of players on Tuesday at the National Sports Stadium in Harare as training began in earnest ahead of Thursday’s road trip to Lusaka.
“I have watched a lot of these boys in action for their clubs this season and this is the best we could come up with,” he said.
“Remember some of them like Felix (Chindungwe) and Ronald (Chitiyo) even played for the senior team in the World Cup qualifiers. So that has given then some experience.Advertisement
“We are going there with a positive mind. You could see the enthusiasm from the boys from the sessions we have had today and I am sure, we will fare much better.
“I am not looking at how Malawi played against us last time and on Saturday against Mozambique, but how our own preparations are shaping up.”
The Warriors drew 1-1 in an international friendly in May where the likes of Chindungwe, Chitiyo, Masimba Mambare, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Silas Songani and Ocean Mushure took part. Last Saturday, Malawi lost 1-0 to Mozambique in a friendly match.
Top scorer in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, Chicken Inn’s Tendai Ndoro, who has scored 11 goals in 16 matches and has been courted by AmaZulu of South Africa, is expected to lead the Zimbabwe attack, together with How Mine hitman Simba Sithole and Monomotapa talisman Ronald Chitiyo.
Back in the squad is Caps United goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube after almost a three year absence together with his former teammate at FC Platinum Charles Sibanda.
Zimbabwe’s participation in the regional championships will not affect the local Premiership as the coaches have only picked two players from each team.
A team can only have its games cancelled if they have three or more players on international duty.
Goalkeepers: Maxwell Nyamupangedengu (Harare City), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Dube (Caps United)
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United), Felix Chindungwe (Chicken Inn), Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Nicholas Guyo (Monomotapa), Prosper Matizanadzo (Buffaloes)
Midfielders: Masimba Mambare (Highlanders), Devon Chafa (Dynamos), Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Silas Songani (Harare City), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Nicholas Alifandika (Black Mambas)
Strikers: Tendai Ndoro (Chicken Inn), Lot Chiwunga (Black Rhinos), Simba Sithole (How Mine), Last Chibwiro (Black Mambas).