By Staff Reporter
FORMER Warriors goalkeeper Bruce “Jungleman” Grobbelaar says he recently received a telephone call from President Emerson Mnangagwa ahead of the pair’s meeting next month as he steps up his plans to venture into politics.
“He (Mnangagwa) said: ‘Hello, Jungleman, how are you?” Grobbelaar told English newspaper The Guardian in a wide-ranging interview on Monday.
“I’m going back (to Zimbabwe) in November. As I told him, I would love to be the ambassador to sport, recreation and reconciliation. I still have a lot of hope for Zimbabwe and I would like to make a difference.”
Grobbelaar’s latest revelation comes after he announced plans to join politics in interviews with UK media following the launch of his autobiography ‘Life In A Jungle’ in Liverpool last month.
The 60-year-old Liverpool and Zimbabwe goalkeeper stepped down from his role with Canadian football side Ottawa Fury earlier this year.
“I’m going back to Zimbabwe for a function on November 10 and, while I’m there, I’ll be sitting down with the sports minister Kirsty Coventry (the former Olympic swimmer),” he told Liverpool Echo publication.
“Then I will, hopefully, see president Emmerson Mnangagwa. I need to have a word with him and I’d like to get into the political side. We’ll see what happens with that.”
Grobbelaar returned to Zimbabwe in January this year after spending 11 years in exile.
During the visit he alleged that he had been told by former President Robert Mugabe not to return to the country in 2007 after he reportedly demanded to be paid in foreign currency when offered a role in the Warriors setup.
“The last time I was here was in 2007 when I was asked to come and help out with the Warriors, but then there was a fallout with the former President (Robert Mugabe) when I asked if they could pay me in forex.
“The former President called and told me that forex was a problem in Zimbabwe. Because of that deadlock, the former President asked me not to come here again.
“That’s why I have been away this long. But now the new President has invited me back and I am here. I will do my utmost best to help my country.”
Grobbelaar’s name is a household name in Zimbabwe football circles just like in Liverpool where he won six premiership titles with club, as well as three FA Cups, three League Cups and the 1983-84 European Cup.
The former Warriors player and coach was also a key member of the late German coach Reinhard Fabisch’s famous Dream Team of the 1990s which came just a victory short of qualification for the 1994 World Cup.
Grobbelaar earned 32 caps for Zimbabwe between 1980 and 1998 and was twice briefly player-manager of Warriors in 1997 and 1998.