THE real job has now begun for Warriors coach Ian Gorowa.
Gorowa this afternoon plunges into his third task at the helm of the Warriors, in what is certainly a stern test against old-nemesis Zambia at Rufaro in an African Nations Championships (Chan) final round, first leg qualifier.
It is a potentially stormy affair that will definitely throw into spotlight Gorowa’s tactical acumen.
The 41-year-old gaffer has already invited questions on his coaching shrewdness following last weekend’s disappointing 1-1 home draw against lightweights Mauritius in the first round’s return leg.
This was after a reverse leg convincing 3-0 win against odd conditions.
“There are no minnows in football. Zambia recently drew 1-1 with Lesotho and that shows there is no team which is easy to beat,” said Gorowa.
“Everybody is ready for Zambia. We are looking forward to it and make the nation proud. The players know they are carrying the hopes of success-starved fans,” he said.
His “culture of winning” project now faces severe scrutiny from the northern neighbours who have dominated the Warriors since their first meeting on June 7 1980 in Zambia.
Since then, Chipolopolo have enjoyed a commanding 13 wins to Zimbabwe’s mere three in the traditionally dubbed “Battle of Zambezi.”
The other 19 meetings have ended in stalemates.
But Gorowa and his men can draw hope from the fact that Chipolopolo have not won in their last four visits to Zimbabwe, with their last conquest being a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win in Harare in a 2004 Cosafa Cup match that had ended goalless in regulation time.
Zambia’s last outright win in Zimbabwe was in September 1998, again in the Cosafa tournament.
Cosafa has fuelled enmity between the neighbours, with Zambia defeating the Warriors 2-0 in the tournament’s final exactly a month ago.
“It does not worry us that they have dominated us before. Now we are playing at home and we have to utilise home advantage. We should bury the game here to make life easier when we visit them,” said Gorowa.
The return leg is on August 24 in Zambia.
The Dynamos trio of Tawanda Muparati, Partson Jaure and Augustine Mbara, forward Nelson Mazivisa, were not part of the team that fell down to Zambia in the Cosafa Cup.
Zambia coach Herve Renard returns to Rufaro four years after he witnessed the Nyasha Mushekwi-powered Warriors prevail 3-1 over his charges in the 2009 Cosafa Cup final.
Italian Dario Bonetti who sandwiched Renard’s two stints was in charge when Chipolopolo fell 2-0 in a friendly match at the same venue two years ago.
Chipolopolo arrived in Harare on Friday evening with a seemingly overzealous Renhard shying away from the press.
The French-born Africa Cup of Nations winning coach, arrogant to local media and speaking in broken English promised to do the job on the field of play.
“I have been to many African countries and wherever I go I am expected to say ‘we will beat them, we will beat them, we will beat them.’ No, football is played on the pitch and not in the newspaper and I will speak after the match,” Renard said.
On the actual task at hand he only said: “This Chan is too big a challenge.”
The Frenchman brought Alex N’gonga and Kaboso Chongo whose goals buried Zimbabwe in the Cosafa final, but impact Power Dynamos midfielder Mukuka Mulenga was left behind with an ankle injury.
Defenders Bronson Chama and Christopher Munthali, Nchanga Rangers striker Bornwell Mwape, the Nkana striking duo of Evans Kangwa and Festus Mbwewe are part of the nine players that will fly to France for Wednesday’s friendly meeting with Senegal.
Midfielders Chongo, Red Arrows’ Bruce Musakanya, Khodwani Mtonga, and goalkeeper Danny Munyau are also part of the Paris mission.