By Robson Sharuko
IAN GOROWA moved closer to taking over as coach of Premiership giants CAPS United last night when he flew into Harare, from his base in South Africa, in the latest – and possibly final – chapter of the secret negotiations that have been going on between the two parties.
Gorowa has been without a club since Mamelodi Sundowns, the Pretoria giants that he led to fourth place in the South African Premiership last season, decided to engage Dutch legend Johan Neeskens as their substantive coach last month.
The Zimbabwean coach, who was in charge of Sundowns on a caretaker basis and finished just two points behind eventual winners Orlando Pirates, was not accommodated in the new coaching set-up at the Brazilians.
Gorowa, who turns 40 on November 16 this year, has spent the last decade learning his coaching trade in South Africa where he started as an assistant coach at the defunct Cape Town Spurs after a premature ending to his career, at 29, following a serious injury.
The Herald can reveal today that Gorowa has been speaking to the CAPS United leadership for the past month, after Moses Chunga left the Green Machine, with the negotiations centred on a possible deal for the former Black Rhinos and Dynamos striker to take over as substantive coach.
Although no confirmation could be obtained from CAPS United president Twine Phiri or his deputy Farai Jere, who is away in Canada on business, sources revealed yesterday that the negotiations between the two parties moved to another level following dramatic events at the weekend.
CAPS United’s sensational 0-3 defeat, at the hands of Monomotapa that sparked a wave of unrest among their fans, shook the club’s leadership, and they decided to speed up their negotiations with Gorowa.
The Green Machine have been under an interim technical team, since Chunga left the club, led by Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe with Rodwell Dhlakama and Alois Bunjira as the assistant coaches.
CAPS United have drawn one and lost three games to Gunners, Dynamos and Monomotapa, under the current interim coaching structure, and the club’s fans showed their feelings at Rufaro on Sunday by waving goodbye to the coach in what has become a symbolic parting shot gesture at the club.
Jongwe has defended the difficult start to their tenure in office by saying he needs more time at the club, which showed glimpses of brilliance in a losing cause against Dynamos in the Harare Derby, to impose his style.
The coach, who insists that he has the magical formula to turn around the Green Machine, has refused to condemn the angry reaction of his fans, saying he understands their feelings and sympathises with them during these difficult times for their club.
Jongwe was credited with bringing the technical style that helped transform the Mighty Warriors into a competitive team that finally cleared the final hurdle and not only qualified for the All-Africa Games but also won the Cosafa Women’s Championships.
But the hawks within the CAPS United camp, who have always argued that the Green Machine are a big brand that needs a coach with a proven track record, have always questioned the decision to hire Jongwe, whom they consider a lightweight.
The coach’s case hasn’t been helped, either, by the run of losses and while the pain of the DeMbare defeat was somewhat diluted by the team’s strong showing that day, the collapse against Monomotapa was too much for the club’s fans to stomach.
Gorowa had been earmarked to take over, with a fresh campaign, from the beginning of next year in the event that negotiations between the two parties were successful with Jongwe piloting the Green Machine ship until the end of the season.
But it now appears Gorowa could be fast-tracked into the hot seat as CAPS United search for solutions to rescue a season that has somewhat gone off the rails after a promising start in which they whipped a number of teams into submission.
“The negotiations between Ian and CAPS United have gone another level after the weekend and that is why the coach is coming to Zimbabwe as the two parties hope to thrash out an agreement as quickly as possible,” said the sources.
“There has been a flurry of activity since Sunday when the game against Monomotapa ended and it all points to a desperate situation that needs an urgent solution.
“While the CAPS United leadership wanted to take their time and conclude a deal that would see Ian coming in by the beginning of the next season, it appears things have taken a new twist and an agreement has to be reached quickly.
“Nothing is concrete right now but there appears to be commitment, from both parties, to reach a deal because Ian also wants to keep himself in action rather than on the sidelines and he feels CAPS United could present a good challenge.”
Others will possibly consider it as a step backwards, for a coach who was in charge of Sundowns just a few months ago, but the history of football is littered with some of the greatest coaches who have taken such a backward step to try and recharge their batteries.
Gorowa has always argued that he could have won the Premiership title in South Africa last season had his team not been forced to play two taxing away games, within a space of three days, in KwaZulu Natal as the race reached its climax.
Sundowns could only draw against Amazulu before a fatal defeat, at the hands of Maritzburg United, ended their championships hopes with their impressive 3-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtics, on the final day of the season, only good for fourth place in a very tight race.
Gorowa took over a Sundowns side in turmoil, after head coach Antonio Lopez Habas had quit in a huff following threats made to his family after a poor run of results, and the Zimbabwean managed to steady the Brazilians’ ship before launching a decent challenge for the Premiership title.
Gorowa started his coaching career at Cape Town Spurs, as an assistant coach, and was then moved to the development side when Spurs merged with Seven Stars to form Ajax Cape Town.
Soon he was promoted to become assistant coach at Ajax Cape Town and, working in tandem with Turkish coach Muhsin Ertugral, they won the 2007 Absa Cup.
In June, the same year, he joined Moroka Swallows as head coach, on a three-year contract, replacing Gavin Hunt who went on to win three straight league titles at SuperSport United. But Gorowa did not last at the Dube Birds and moved to Thanda Royal Zulu, as an assistant coach, before finding himself at Sundowns where he began as an assistant to Habas before taking over on an interim basis.
Gorowa has a career rating of 45.24 percent wins, 21.43 percent draws and 33.33 percent losses.
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