The Sunday Mail
FOR much of his life Ian “Dibango’’ Gorowa hogged the limelight for banging goals as a lethal striker, and later for directing operations from the dugout after embarking on a coaching career that promised so much.
But the former Warriors coach now has a new calling, which he is pursuing with the same passion and zeal that saw his football journey traverse the jungles of Black Rhinos, Dynamos, IFK Vasteras in Sweden, Seven Stars and Ajax Cape Town in South Africa.
That playing journey was cut short by a knee injury when he was 29, and Gorowa plunged into coaching, starting in the development structures of Ajax Cape Town before evolving onto the big stage with Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns and his national team — the Warriors.
The 49-year-old Gorowa, however, has a new calling in his life: He is now a pastor with the AFM church in Johannesburg, having successfully completed his theological studies.
Yet just two years ago, he had been linked with what would have been his first club coaching job on the domestic front after Ngezi Platinum Stars expressed huge interest in bringing him on board.
Back then, Ngezi were without a substantive coach after they had fired Tonderai Ndiraya with five games before the end of the league programme.
The youthful gaffer had been sacrificed for the Mhondoro miners’ failure to wrestle the championship from FC Platinum.
Dibango, as Gorowa remains popularly known in the game’s circles, reached his best moment in Zimbabwean football when he guided a group of home-grown Warriors to a credible fourth place at the 2014 African Nations Championships (CHAN) tournament in Cape Town.
That fine run by the Warriors also opened doors for a number of players like George Chigova, Partson Jaure, Milton Ncube, Simbarashe Sithole, Eric Chipeta, Peter Moyo and Danny Phiri to get their breakthrough into the ABSA Premiership.
Gorowa is part of an elite class of former Zimbabwe internationals who went on to coach the national team at a major CAF competition such as the Nations Cup and CHAN.
That elite group includes Sunday Chidzambwa, Kalisto Pasuwa and Madinda Ndlovu.
Chidzambwa led the Warriors to two Africa Cup of Nations appearances in 2004 and 2019, as well as the inaugural CHAN in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009.
Ndlovu was in charge of the Warriors at the 2011 CHAN tournament in Sudan.
Pasuwa is the only other former Warriors international to take his national team to the Nations Cup when he achieved that feat in 2017, having also guided them to the 2016 CHAN competition in Rwanda.
However, six years after he walked out on his Warriors job, Gorowa has traded the dugout for the pulpit.
He told The Sunday Mail Sport that he could not resist the urge to trade football with the call to preach a different gospel from sport.
“Calling is calling, you have to adhere to it. Football is a gift from God and I thank the Lord for that.
“Preaching the word is something I really enjoy. Life is a journey, but while it is a journey, you must make sure or make an effort to walk that journey on the right path; that is with Jesus.
“So I could say I took the path of Jesus. For the word says (John 14:6) ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ . . .
“It is an awesome journey and, remember, the Lord uses whatever you have already. Moses was asked by the Lord, ‘what do you have in your hand?’ and he said, ‘I got a stick’, and the Lord said, ‘I will use that to show Pharaoh I have sent you.’
“So what do I have in me? Football, coaching and football skills . . . and football life as a player has helped me immensely to become a pastor,’’ Gorowa said.
The 49-year-old gaffer revealed that he somehow foresaw his religious calling when preaching the gospel of football.
He said although he was now spending his Sundays at church and away from the dressing rooms and the frenzied environment of the stadiums, he had not abandoned his love for the game he began playing as a raw teenager from Mbare through to high school at Prince Edward.
“I can say the Lord prepared me to be a pastor with football. And I am really enjoying it. I still love my football,’’ Gorowa said.
Gorowa is, however, not the only local coach to have found a new home in church, as former Lengthens and CAPS United mentor, Jostein Mathuthu, has also taken to preaching.
Mathuthu, who won the BancABC Cup with the now-defunct Lengthens, is now a pastor at Exodus Apostolic Church in Harare.
Seven-time Zimbabwe Referee of the Year, Felix Tangawarima, also always finds time to minister at his United Methodist Church whenever he is back home on break, away from his tight schedule of developing African referees for FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Gorowa’s former DeMbare and Warriors teammate Tauya Murewa has similarly found a new vocation in church after retiring from the game and opting against coaching or administering the sport.
“Tauya is not involved in football anymore. He left all that when he retired from the game and he is not serving as a doctor neither.
“He chose a different path and that might surprise many, but that is what he decided to do and he is firmly dedicated to his cause.
“He gave his life to serving the Lord and is deeply involved in the ZCC (Zion Christian Church) in South Africa.
“To him, that’s all that matters now, serving this organisation, worshipping and doing work in various capacities for the ZCC,’’ sources told our sister paper The Herald on Saturday early this year.