Reigniting Dream Team era . . . Grobbelaar outlines ambition for Warriors’ revival

ZIMBABWE and Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar has underscored the need for the Warriors to bounce back and make their impact felt in international football.

A member of the late Reinhard Fabisch’s Warriors Dream Team, Grobbelaar has never hidden his ambition to coach the senior national side.

Beyond, just the Warriors, the former Liverpool goalkeeper wants to see the development of talented boys and girls in an environment where ZIFA maximise on FIFA assistance and corporate support to grow the game.

The veteran coach, who played for Highlanders before moving to Canada and later made his fame as the Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper for years, is in the country on a week-long visit.

On Tuesday he met with the ZIFA Normalisation Committee to discuss his involvement with the national game and especially the possibility of his appointment as the substantive Warriors coach. ZIFA have kept a tight lid on the details of that meeting.

Grobbelaar was also a surprise guest at the ongoing FIFA For Schools programme at Prince Edward and later toured the National Sports Stadium during which he also visited the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe offices.

He was in the company of his wife Janne Karlsen and his advisor Rob Glover.

FIFA Football for Schools programme launched yesterday was preceded by a two-day capacity building workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday for former players, school teachers and community coaches.

The programme targets mainly school going children from the development stage.

Grobbelaar while not revealing much on the details of engagements, confirmed that his mission to Zimbabwe had been to meet with the Normalisation Committee.

“I am here because I had a scheduled meeting with the ZIFA Normalisation Committee,’’ Grobbelaar said.

When Normalisation Committee chairperson Lincoln Mutasa and his crew advertised for the national coaches’ jobs for men and women and the junior teams, Grobbelaar was among the first to submit his application.

ZIFA, citing limited financial resources, then decided against conducting interviews for the candidates they had shortlisted and appointed former Highlanders coach Baltermar Brito on a part-time basis.

But it has since emerged that the Normalisation Committee have approached FIFA to assist them with more resources to revive the game from grassroots to the elite level.

For Grobbelaar, the passion he exhibited when balancing the call to Warriors’ duty and the demanding fixture schedule at Liverpool has remained intact long after he retired from playing.

He argues that Zimbabwe should not be struggling in the international game given the number of talented players both at home and abroad.

The former SuperSport United coach echoed the sentiments of Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe on the significance of having the Warriors back among teams at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The “Jungle man’’ as, Grobbelaar is popularly known, believes the Warriors have actually been a missing link on the continental arena.

“Zimbabwe has the most intelligent and talented players from the whole of Southern Africa.

“If you look at the top leagues in Europe you will find more Zimbabwean players than any of the Southern African countries.

“Even if you check in the second-tier leagues and if you look at the number of emerging players, youngsters like Trey Nyoni, they are all Zimbabweans.

“We have the capacity to qualify for the World Cup and challenge for the Nations Cup,’’ he said.

He was charmed with the efforts being made by ZIFA to revive grassroots football.

“I am so pleased that FIFA have come in and they together with the Normalisation Committee have started the programme within the schools together to get the grassroots level coming up and I know that the Normalisation Committee is a thankless task, because they are there to oversee the election of the next chairman and the next ZIFA board whilst still dealing with what has happened in the past and trying to put that to bed.

“They also need to be appointing coaches for everything that they need to do’’.

FIFA Football for Schools programme, which was launched at Prince Edward yesterday was preceded by a two-day capacity building workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday for former players, school teachers and community coaches.

The programme targets mainly school going children from the development stage.

He also hinted on a grand plan that focuses on harnessing all the talented players at home and abroad to commit to the national cause.

“I am pleased that they have appointed Chemi, (Jethro Hunidzarira) as technical director and I phoned him to congratulate him and him and will meet and it would be great to meet and to help anywhere I can for the betterment of football in Zimbabwe.

“I have always said and I will say it time and time again, that the most intelligent footballers in Southern Africa are Zimbabweans

“Not only do they know the game but they are educated and the passion for football you can see it.

“What we need, what we as a unit together with all the resources that we can get is to get Zimbabwe to the next level.

“We have been sorely missed in world football, in African football because of the ban and now we are back, there is no reason why we cannot get to the 2026 World Cup.

“If you have a look at the players that we have got, we have players playing at the highest level in various countries around the world and for the coach to actually utilise those players along with the best in this country.

“What we have got on offer is something dynamic, something which some countries in Africa don’t have, some countries don’t have foreign-based players, South Africa for example, they have one or two… most of their players are playing in the domestic league,’’ added Grobbelaar.

He advised that ZIFA needed to avoid piecemeal appointments for national coaches.

“Global football has shown you that you need a steady work ethic with the coaches and the coaches would be given two to three years, maybe even four to get through the qualifications and they don’t they get rid of the coach… for instance the Egyptian coach had a long-term contract which only came to an end after they failed in their targets at the Nations Cup’’.

He is also understood to have worked around a plan to secure more technical, material and financial support for the national team in order to augment the often, limited ZIFA resources.

Whether a deal to appoint Grobbelaar as coach will be struck between ZIFA and the Warriors legend remains a subject of speculation but it appears a mutual working relationship to turn around Zimbabwe’s fortunes is on the cards.

Herald

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