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28 October 2014

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You are in: Essex > Sport > Sport Features > Where are they now: Colwyn Rowe

Colwyn Rowe

Colwyn Rowe

Where are they now: Colwyn Rowe

What happens to players when they retire? Some go into the media, some set-up their own businesses, some have enough money to be 'men of leisure,' and others go into coaching. Where are they now?

There cannot be many ex-Colchester United players coaching a national team. We think there is only one. His name is Colwyn Rowe and he is in charge of Botswana, a small country with a population under two million, just north of South Africa.

Rowe played for the U's during the 1970's and they are times he remembers well.

"Jim Smith was the manager at the time and scared me to death. He was a strong character and Bobby Roberts was his assistant. We had some really good players at the time.

Rowe became coach of Botswana in August 2006

Rowe became coach of Botswana in 2006

"I enjoyed my time there. Friday night football was great and the pitch was always excellent. I always look for their results and sometimes we get Championship football on the TV here so I have seen them a couple of times," he added.

The 51 year-old has also coached in the Middle East where he set-up Jordan's youth system as well as having worked for the English FA.

Rowe became coach of Botswana in August 2006. And has led them to the verge of qualification for the African Cup of Nations.

"Botswana have never qualified for the finals of a major competition and this run has really caught the imagination of the public. We are known as the Zebras and whenever we play the whole country comes to a standstill.

"Our last game is against the African Champions Egypt in Cairo in front of 90,000 people on October 14th. It won't be easy because we have to win while Egypt only need a draw but you never know what might happen."

The job Rowe has done could be seen as remarkable bearing in mind Botswana does not have a professional league and the majority of the side are amateurs.

Botswana team

Botswana team

"I've been here 14 months and we've played some big countries like Egypt and they have players like Mido. We've also faced Angola who reached last year's World Cup finals. We have three players in the South African pro-league and one in Cyprus but this is a developing country and hopefully the future is bright."

Botswana currently stand at their highest ever FIFA ranking of 95 but that brings pressure for the former Colchester United man.

"It means the people think you should win every game and they are VERY enthusiastic. The press are very harsh but if you talk to the people and ask them to see it from your point of view then they tend to come round to your way. I'm known as Rowey over here and they do say I stick to my guns."

He lives in the capital Gaborone with his wife and two dogs and is enjoying life.

"The standard of living is very good. Botswana is quite a rich country and as it was colonised by the British there are a lot of similarities. We have supermarkets so you can just pop out for a pint of milk and we drive on the left. The big difference is, from my window I can see warthogs and guinea fowl, it is very beautiful and the people are welcoming." added Rowe.

last updated: 04/10/07

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