BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HIS curly Afro hairstyle and combative style of play in midfield has earned him comparisons with Belgium and Borussia Dortmund star Axel Witsel by the top German tabloid newspaper Bild while at first glance you would mistake him for German international Leroy Sane.
However, unlike his famous look-alikes who have already established themselves at the highest level of the professional game, 18-year-old Fabisch is still trying to earn his breakthrough at German second-tier side Hamburg.
Based in Hamburg, Germany, young Fabisch is part of a generation of players raised in Europe with Zimbabwean roots, who have been approached to feature for the Warriors in the future.
His father Reinhard, who died in 2008 after a battle with cancer, coached Zimbabwe’s famous Dream Team between 1992 and 1995, while his Mutoko-born mother Chawada Kachidza represented Zimbabwe in the 100m hurdles.
The gifted defensive midfielder is very highly regarded at Volkparkstadion where he has progressed nicely through all the club’s age group teams since being recruited as a 11-year-old, to becoming one of the club’s brightest prospects.
And ahead of the new 2.Bundesliga season, the young Zimbabwean is being tipped as one of the latest young stars to emerge from the Bavarian club, which is credited for developing top players such as German international defender Jerome Boateng, former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min.
Fabisch, who has already represented Germany at youth level, is tipped to follow the same path.
After captaining Hamburg’s Under-18 side last season, Fabisch is one of the three young players who have been invited to train with the club’s first team by the club’s new head coach Daniel Thioune ahead of the new season.
Thioune, who recently became the first German-born black coach in the country’s professional leagues, is reportedly known for giving opportunities to young players during his time at third-tier side VfL Osnabrück.
According to reports from Germany last week, Fabisch is one of the two young players who could benefit from Thioune’s faith in young players during the upcoming season as he seeks to make an impact at the club, which narrowly missed out on a place in the Bundesliga promotion playoffs.
“The new coach is known to like betting on young players and leading them from the bottom up. For many youngsters at HSV, it now also represents a new opportunity at Hamburg’s Volkspark,” the daily German newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost reported last week.
“Anssi Suhonen (19) and Jonah Fabisch (18) are the best known talents in the HSV youth team at the moment. Both played in the U19 last season, but they have already been able to train regularly with the professionals. Now the next step should follow.
“Thioune will have to decide who is ready for the leap to the pros in the coming season. The door to the very top is now much wider again in the Volkspark. “On the one hand, because HSV is forced to do so due to the financial hardships, on the other hand, because Thioune is known for it and precisely this path should now be deliberately contested with him.”
Fabisch’s progress at Hamburg should come as good news to Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic.
The teen starlet, who celebrates his 19th birthday on Thursday, has already represented Germany at the Under-18 level, but has expressed interest in representing Zimbabwe at senior international level.
“I have been invited for German national youth teams, but I haven’t yet made my decision on my senior national career. But I have got this strong attachment to Zimbabwe; it is my home country so I can say 90% I will play for the Warriors,” he said last year.
Fabisch already has a Zimbabwean passport and was last year included in the Warriors squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.
He, however, failed to honour the call-up due to commitments with his club, which was in the process of renewing his contract.
Young Fabisch’s father, who died in Germany on July 12, 2008 after a battle with cancer, rose to fame after assembling what came to be known as the “Dream Team”, a side which played a beautiful brand of football and attracted bumper crowds whenever playing at the National Sports Stadium in the early 1990s.
The Warriors’ Dream Team went for a 12-game unbeaten run at the National Sports Stadium in both the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers between 1992 and 1995, beating African football giants Cameroon and Egypt, as well as the likes of Angola, Togo, Guinea and South Africa along the way.
Success, however, eluded the famous team as it never qualified for a major tournament.
Nevertheless, Fabisch Snr is still widely acknowledged as Zimbabwe’s most celebrated coach and Jonah’s availability for the national team will inevitably evoke good memories among local football fans.