THIS year could rank as the worst in the history of the Warriors following a humiliating 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.
Pagels could not lead the home-based Warriors to the Cosafa Castle Cup title defence. But in came Ian Gorowa at the end of July.
Gorowa brought a refreshing air of hope. He is unbeaten in eight games, four of which helped the Warriors qualify for next month’s less glamorous African Nations Champion ships (Chan).
He has so far passed two major tests. The first one was breaking Zambia’s unbeaten record at the new Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Zambia, in the Chan qualifier decider as well as an away victory over South Africa in an international friendly match in September.
But fans might reckon that the real test will be coming at the Chan tournament where Zimbabwe will be seeking to get past the groups stages for the first time.
But the most crucial of tests next year is bidding for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
It was a closely-contested race in which Dynamos won on the last day of the competition as old rivals Highlanders finished runners-up for the second season running.
DeMbare failed to qualify for the Caf Champions League mini-league phase for a third season in a row. Again for a third straight term, Dynamos provided the soccer star of the year when Tawanda Muparati succeeded Denver Mukamba who had also assumed the crown from goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
Last week, players both on national and domestic contracts refused to play Pro-50 and Logan Cup matches demanding salaries owed to them by ZC.
The coaches have also threatened vowed to join the players if the situation persists in January.
The year started with a woeful tour of the West Indies where Zimbabwe failed to win any match in all versions of the games.
This was followed by Bangladesh’s tour of Zimbabwe where the hosts only managed to edge the tourists 3-2 in the one-day international (ODI) series while they drew the Test and Twenty20 series.
In August, India completed an ODI whitewash of Zimbabwe in a five-match series in Harare and Bulawayo in another gloomy show by the hosts.
The major positive highlight by Zimbabwe was, however, a 24-run win over Pakistan in September to draw the Test series at Harare Sports Club in what was their first major Test victory since beating India in 2001.
It was their 11th Test success since they were accorded Test status in 1992. Pakistan, however, dominated the tour.
The Under-19 lost all their games at the quadrangular cricket series in India in September to raise concern over the future of the game in the country. The series also had South Africa and Australia.
But the teenagers could turn that catastrophic outing into a learning curve that might help them conquer at next February’s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Despite losing almost 10 senior players following a player revolt, Zimbabwe held their nerves and will resume their qualification bid mid-next year in Madagascar where they will face the hosts Kenya and Namibia who were at the last edition.
Zimbabwe are bidding for a first appearance at the World Cup since 1991 and the interest shown by players who had previously turned their backs on the Sables but have been enticed by World Cup appearance prospects is encouraging.
The Cheetahs’ major highlight of the year was participation at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, but could not progress past the group stages.
Earlier on in May, the Cheetahs failed to attain core status in London, England having also failed again the previous year by narrowly losing to Portugal.
Early this month he finished fifth at the Nedbank Golf Challenge which is a European Tour event.
Chapman Golf Club-bred armature Scott Vincent in August won the Harare Amateur Championship by a record 17 shots.
He is currently on a golf scholarship at Virginia Tech University in the US, the same institution that De Jongé attended.
He is a future prospect who so far has been breaking De Jongé’s records on the US Collegiate circuit.
Teenage golfer Sean Crocker was the highest placed armature at the Golden Pilesner Zimbabwe Open in April to assert himself as one for the future.
Crocker who is son to former Zimbabwe Test cricketer Gary earned himself a golf scholarship at the University of Southern California.
With her Indian doubles partner Sania Mirza, she won the Pan-Pacific Open in Japan and the China Open.
Apart from Black’s exploits, Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the Davies Cup Group Two for the third year running.
Takanyi Garanganga gave a glimmer of hope among upcoming stars as he maintained his fine run in the ITF Futures tournaments by winning the Turkey F24 and F38 Futures in a year he posted his highest singles ranking (342).
Former Kyokushin world champion Samson Muripo claimed bronze at the world championships in Bulgaria in October.
Marathoner Cephas Pasipamire travelled to Moscow, but could not contest after being attacked by an undisclosed ailment.
Track and field star Mgoni Makusha was injured just before the championships, just like how he injured himself prior to last year’s Olympics.
Athletes who took part at the World Youth Championships in Ukraine did not fare well just like those who took part at the Africa Junior Championships in Mauritius as well as the World Cross-country championships in Poland.
Olympic rower Micheen Thornycroft was the biggest achiever of the year in the aquatic discipline after storming into the world top 10 women’s single sculls.
She raced at the World Cup in Australia and had training camps in Italy and Germany before participation at the World Championships in South Korea where she made it into the world top 10.
She claimed gold at the African championships in the single sculls in Tunisia as well as double sculls with Daniella du Toit who then qualified for next year’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
Teenage sensation Kyle Hind also qualified for YOG to be held in Nanjing, China, next August after a scintillating outing at the Tunisian Regatta.
Peter Purcell-Gilpin who has already started in the seniors also had a good outing at the World Championships in the men’s single sculls and was named junior sportsman of the year.
Young Faber Lauchlan came second to Purcell-Gilpin in the Junior Sportsman accolade.