Over a decade since his last job as a club coach with third-tier German clubs, Warriors care- taker coach Klaus Dieter-Pagels asserts he is still ripe for his debut international football coaching job.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The 63-year-old’s first coaching job came in the late 1970’s with third-tier sides VfL Staden and SV Lurup where he registered no success as both clubs were relegated with him as either head coach or technical advisor.
Pagels’ task is to help the Warriors negotiate their way to the 2014 World Cup in Group G that includes continental heavyweights Egypt, Guinea and Mozambique.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze believes Pagels was the last resort after the resignation of Rahman Gumbo, but is he the best we have in the land?
“Considering the time between now and the next game in March against Egypt, there was no time to interview other coaches for the job. We had to settle down for Pagels who is already contracted to us. He will be working on interim basis and we will review his performance next year. He has a contract with us on a government-to-government basis which is expiring in July next year,” Mashingaidze said.
“We will meet next year and review his contract and I am sure with his knowledge of Zimbabwean players, he will do well. The board will on Wednesday announce the entire technical team.”
Though armed with a Uefa Pro license coaching certificate from the famed University of Cologne, which is the highest coaching qualification in Europe, the towering German has largely spent the better part of his coaching career working with junior development. With his equally inexperienced proposed assistant coaches Peter Ndlovu, George Jojo, Lloyd Mutasa Nkululeko Dhlamini and Ian Gorowa, more questions are being asked on his credibility to lead the Warriors to their first ever World Cup appearance in Brazil.
However, it is his experience of working with the financially struggling lower rung clubs that prepared him for working in any environment.
“I have never coached a national team, but coached third Division clubs in German which unfortunately did not have big budgets and they ended up being relegated. I did not do much at these clubs because they did not have enough money and ended up being relegated
“I learnt a lot working with these clubs as I now know how to draw the best out of a player, even where there are no resources just like here in Zimbabwe. That makes me the right person for the job. I have been in football for a long time and I believe I will deliver,” said Pagels.
Pagel’s main tasks
Pagels’ main task is to motivate the Warriors, whose morale is at its lowest ebb, having drawn one and lost one in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.
Most Warriors players have been fingered in the match-fixing scandal between 2007 and 2009 while some of them have either been banned or escaped with paying fines while some have even been accused of fixing the last Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against Angola.
“Whatever happened in the past should be forgotten. We are starting on a new slate. Our next game is against Egypt in March and the players have to believe that they can beat any team on the continent. There is so much talent in this country and with proper planning, the team can be world beaters. I realised some mistakes we made in the past games and will try to rectify those mistakes,” he said.
“Asiagate is in the past and we should move on. I am glad that some of the players were pardoned as there is one that I would like to see in my team there,” he said.
Pagel’s knowledge of Zimbabwean football
On his knowledge of the culture of Zimbabwean players, Pagels said his two-year stay in the country would come in handy.
“This country has a lot of talented players and I have seen that from my experience with working with juniors. I have been in this country for two and a half years and has seen a lot to believe that Zimbabwe can compete with the best,” he said.
Pagels admitted that his compatriot, the late Reinhard Fabisch did well with his Dream Team project, but insisted that times have changed.
“The Dream team was brilliant, but I am not Fabisch. I will try doing things my own way. I have watched a lot of Warriors matches and that has given me an insight on the culture of local players,” he said.
Will he succeed where others have failed? Time will tell.