BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HE might still be in the early stages of his professional football career but Germany-based Zimbabwean midfielder Jonah Fabisch already has his sights firmly set on emulating his late father by becoming a coach when he hangs up his boots.
Fabisch looks set to finally make his debut for the Warriors after being included in Zimbabwe’s 25-man squad for the 2022 World Cup Group G qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia this week.
The 20-year-old midfielder was made to wait longer for his national team debut by former coach Zdravko Logarusic after being an unused substitute in the Warriors’ opening Group G matches against South Africa and Ethiopia in September.
Fabisch was then overlooked for the back to back qualifiers against Ghana last month, but now appears in line to finally make his bow in the upcoming matches after receiving his first call-up from the current interim coach Norman Mapeza.
While Fabisch is relishing the opportunity to take his career to the next stage by finally representing the nation of his mother’s birth, he also harbours ambitions of emulating his late father, Reinhard Fabisch by venturing into coaching.
His father, who died in Germany on July 12, 2008 after a battle with cancer, had extensive experience in coaching African countries having handled Zimbabwe, Kenya and Benin
The late Reinhard Fabisch is arguably the most celebrated coach of Zimbabwe’s national side. He is still fondly remembered for assembling arguably Zimbabwe’s finest national team, which is popularly known as the “Dream Team” between 1992 and 1995.
His son could in the future follow in his footsteps by pursuing a coaching career of his own in years to come.
“For me at the moment it is about taking the next step in my development and becoming even more consistent in my performances.
“In the long term and with a view to the time after my career, I hope to be able to pass on all the experience that I can gather now at some point,” Fabisch said in an in-depth interview with Hamburger SV’s official website last week.
Despite his young age, Fabisch is already studying for his DFB-UEFA B Licence coaching badge in Germany while he is already gaining some valuable experience from occasionally working with younger players in Hamburg where he is based.
“That’s why I want to soak up as much as possible and take with me. I can well imagine working as a trainer one day, am currently doing my B license and now and again I am with the younger teams in Norderstedt to learn from the coaching teams there. I don’t yet know exactly where I want to be a coach. I am open to (the idea of being a coach).
“As a child, I learned from my dad how many opportunities a coaching position opens up. I find that very exciting,” he said.
Fabisch is currently on the books of Hamburg SV’s Under-21 side which competes in the Regionalliga Nord — the fourth tier of the German football league system.
Although he is yet to make his first team breakthrough, he has, on several occasions, been invited to train with the Hamburg SV senior team, which currently plays in the German second tier.
The young star qualifies to play for the Warriors through his mother, Chawada Kachidza-Fabisch, who previously held the Zimbabwean record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
Although Fabisch, who was born in Kenya, before growing up in South America, West Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, among others, before the family moved to Hamburg he says Zimbabwe holds a special place in his heart.
“Zimbabwe is the retreat of my whole family. Up until I was 10, we went there every year on vacation to visit my grandmother, who still lives in the country to this day. She also visited me at the hotel during my recent trip. The rest of my family live all over the world, partly in the United Arab Emirates, the USA and in Europe but in Zimbabwe we always meet at Christmas. Then there is really something going on.
“That’s why I associate the country with many beautiful family celebrations,” he said.
Fabisch said he was charmed by the reception he received from locals, who still remember his late father’s achievements as Warriors coach.
“In Zimbabwe, more or less every adult knows my dad from his time as national coach in the 1990s.
“This enabled people to recognise me quickly as well. Many people recognised me directly, remembered my father or asked me about it. I was very happy to be welcomed so warmly. That was a nice feeling.”
Although Fabisch was not used in last month’s World Cup qualifiers, he describes the trip as a further important development step in his still young career.
“I was the youngest player in the squad; the team is rather older overall. There is a very strong generation of footballers in Zimbabwe who are about 10 years older than me,” he said.
“The boys are nearing the end of their careers and of course wanted to qualify even more for the World Cup because it is probably their last chance to be in a tournament like this. There was a lot of pressure within the team. Nevertheless, there was always a connection to the younger players. I didn’t have the feeling that I was a new player, but was integrated directly.”
He also opened up on his initial attempt to impress his teammates during his first training session, which he admitted did not go as well as he had hoped.
“I didn’t know my teammates personally until I arrived; I’d only seen some of them on television. In the hotel I was welcomed very well.
“Still, I was pretty excited before the first training session. I really wanted to prove myself. I wanted to show that I was rightly nominated and that I have the class to be there.
“That didn’t work at all on the first unit, because I was way too nervous and flawed. (laughs) But the team noticed that and caught me quite well. After that it got a lot better and I got a lot of positive feedback. Overall, I felt well received from the start. I still have contact with a few guys, we regularly chat on WhatsApp,” he said.