LET’S BRING BACK THE GURU’S ‘BRUCE AND PETER’ SAYS ZIFA | Peter Ndlovu and Bruce Grobbelaar — two of the strongest pillars who held the Dream Team together in a remarkable adventure that almost took Zimbabwe to the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States — have been shortlisted for another romantic flirtation with the Warriors.
The All-Star duo, who are working in Canada and South Africa, have emerged as the pick of the coaches which the ZIFA bosses intend to try and lure back home, in an ambitious bid to come up with a substantive technical leadership for the Warriors ahead of the resumption of the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers in March next year.
Both have had cameo dances in the coaching set-ups of the Warriors before with Grobbelaar taking charge of a ‘98 AFCON qualifier against Sudan in Khartoum on October 6, 1996, in which he inspired Zimbabwe to an impressive 3-0 victory through goals by double-scorer Agent Sawu and Charles Yohane.
However, that result was nullified after Sudan subsequently withdrew from the qualifiers because of political unrest in that country and by the time the Warriors were back in action, with a home game against Ghana’s Black Stars on January 26, 1997, which ended in a goalless draw in Harare, another coach had taken charge of their dressing room.
The 60-year-old Grobbelaar has been working in Canada as the goalkeepers’ coach at Ottawa Fury for some time now, but has always maintained he still has unfinished business with his country’s football and wants another dance as coach of the Warriors.
That could happen if ZIFA — whose president Philip Chiyangwa revealed yesterday he has secured a sponsor who has put together a financial package to help them secure the services of the man they believe is the best candidate to coach the Warriors on a substantive basis — and the former goalkeeper strike a deal.
“On Wednesday, after lengthy deliberations with a sponsor —who prefers to remain anonymous for now, but who has a passion to see our senior national team becoming successful so that it becomes a vehicle to not only cheer, but also unite this country — an agreement was reached for us to bring in quality coaches whom we feel can add real value to the Warriors,” Chiyangwa said.
“The cost of doing so isn’t an issue because the partner is ready to pay a substantial amount for such specialist professional service because it doesn’t come cheap and that is why we have cast our net as wide as possible to try and bring the best of the coaching talent we believe can make a difference.
“We have come up with that shortlist which we believe has the quality that we are looking for and Grobbelaar is a coach who has a lot of expertise and knows what is needed to coach the Warriors because he has been part of the team as a player and as a coach before.
“Peter needs no introduction when it comes to the Warriors because he remains the ultimate face of the team after his great role to lead it, as captain, to the AFCON finals in 2004 and 2006 and while he has a stable job as the team manager at Mamelodi Sundowns we believe he can be tempted to come back home and take up a bigger role for his country.
He is an illustrious son of Zimbabwe football and in this game, serving your country is something that is very, very special and I have a very good relationship with Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe and it’s something that we will be talking about.”
There is even a possibility both Grobbelaar and Ndlovu could be roped in as a dream coaching tag-team for the Warriors with Chiyangwa saying the package to pay the duo is in place. “The salary for whoever we want is not even an issue right now and even the working conditions for the coaches are very good because we have a partner who is ready to take care of all that all for the service of this country,” said Chiyangwa.
“Peter has served his apprenticeship well at Sundowns and we believe that he has learnt a lot from someone like Pitso Mosimane who won the African Champions League last year with the South African side to show that he is a coach who has real quality. We are looking to get things settled as soon as possible and should we agree terms with the ones we looking for, they could come and get the ball rolling very soon, even taking charge of our two matches against Lesotho and Namibia next month and our participation in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.”
Chiyangwa also revealed they had already interviewed former Warriors coach Joey Antipas for the same job. “We have already interviewed Antipas, but that is just the start of the process and we will see where it takes us at the end of the day,” said Chiyangwa.
“In the event that we don’t complete the process of securing the coach that we want by the time we play the matches against Lesotho and Namibia and the CECAFA Cup, our technical director (Wilson Mutekede) will be asked to take charge of those matches, but his role will not extend to the AFCON matches because we would have got our men by then.”
The Herald has been advised that Norman Mapeza, who took charge of the Warriors’ opening 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia which Zimbabwe won 3-0, told ZIFA vice president Omega Sibanda he wants to be excused from international duty for now to concentrate fully on his job as the FC Platinum coach where he has two years left on his current contract and wants to win something substantial for the club.