By Tadious Manyepo
There will be a “Dream Team” flavour in the Warriors squad after Reinhard Fabisch’s son Jonah committed to play for Zimbabwe. The 17-year-old already has a Zimbabwean passport.
Reinhard Fabisch, who died in Germany on July 12, 2008 after a battle with cancer, rose to fame after assembling what became to be known as the “Dream Team”, a side which played a beautiful brand of football and attracted bumper crowds whenever playing at home at the National Sports Stadium in the early 1990s.
In fact, the late Reinhard Fabisch, easily the most celebrated coach of Zimbabwe’s national side, was in charge of the Warriors between 1992 and 1995. His “Dream Team” galvanised the patriotic fervour of a nation, although success eluded him.
The team comprised the likes of the late Benjamin Nkonjera, Francis Shonhayi (late), legendary goalkeeper Bruce “Jungleman” Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu, Ephraim Chawanda, John Phiri, Norman Mapeza, Rahman Gumbo, Agent “Ajira” Sawu, Henry “Bully” McKop, Vitalis “Digital” Takawira, Mercedes “Rambo” Sibanda (late) and Willard “Mawiii” Mashinkila-Khumalo (late) and Adam Ndlovu (late), amongst others, and so good was the team that even the mighty Indomitable Lions of Cameroon couldn’t break it easily.
Though the team never qualified for a major tournament, the epoch remains perched on the uppermost of those who saw them in action.
The team also laid a strong foundation for subsequent sides and qualification for the African Cup of Nations finals has now become a routine for Zimbabwe.
And Jonah Fabisch’s availability for the national team will inevitably evoke Reinhard Fabisch memories among local football fans.
Warriors technical team, led by team manager Wellington Mpandare, have been on a crusade to take aboard all players with Zimbabwean roots who ply their trade in different parts of Europe and convince them to represent the country.
Such efforts have already bore fruits with the likes of Tendayi Darikwa and Alec Mudimu having since been drafted into the senior national team where they have played key roles in the Warriors’ quest for qualification in this year’s AFCON finals to be staged between June and July at a venue to be determined by CAF next week.
Zimbabwe need to avoid defeat against Congo Brazzaville at home on March 22 to be assured of progression to the biannual showpiece.
After marathon meetings with Mpandare, Jonah Fabisch has expressed interest in playing for the Warriors.
He is currently one of the most sought-after prospects at Hamburger SV Under-19 side in Germany, having come through that team’s age-group teams since he was just 14. The team extended the contract of the teenager by four-years early last year in a bid to keep him as there was increasing interests from other clubs who wanted to sign him.
Jonah Fabisch has already represented Germany in the Under-18 age-group but has reportedly expressed his keenness to play for Zimbabwe.
He has a Zimbabwean mother, Chawada Kachidza, who is a former hurdler from Mutoko but now lives in Hamburg, Germany.
She was at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a member of the International Athletics Associations Federation (IAAF)’s Future Stars programme.
Amid claims by one Mistry Chipere that he is the one who is facilitating for Jonah Fabisch to be in the Warriors team, Mpandare has come out strongly saying he should not seek relevance by claiming that they are the ones who are bringing all these stars from abroad.
“I can confirm that Jonah Fabisch’s papers are in order and he is ready if the Warriors technical team thinks that he can play a role in the team. But we have had problems with people who claim that they are the ones who are bringing these stars here,” said Mpandare.
“We have always had programmes to take aboard our players dotted around Europe. We have since managed to bring the likes of Darikwa and Mudimu.
“No one should claim credit for our efforts. In the case of Darikwa and Mudimu, let me put it on record that everyone knew well before that they were Zimbabweans but maybe it was just a case of the technical teams then not wanting to pick them.
“The current technical department has chosen to have them aboard and we made efforts to get them the documents and you hear some people claiming that they are the ones who brought the players.”
The former Gunners manager said he didn’t want to become personal but people ought to know that they do not own players. The Herald