There is no doubt that interim Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels has captured the imagination of Zimbabweans with his Tiki-Taka kind of football, which has completely transformed the way Zimbabwe plays.
FInal Whistle with Simba Rushwaya
Pagels’ approach is a complete divergence to former coaches like Sunday Chidzambwa, whose approach was inclined on grinding results with the “sexy” style that electrifies fans in the stand. The Barcelona elegance you would say.
The German mentor’s technical line has been premised on methodical build-ups from the back into attack, with emphasis on ball possession. It is an amusement to watch if you ask me. No wonder why the youthful team that toured Egypt for a World Cup qualifier match in March still retained plaudits despite going down 2-1 in Alexandria.
It would appear Pagels has a vision, but his dream might come to naught if he continues with his attitude of shutting the door on other good players. It might sound conservative, but there is no point in ignoring a player who has hit a purple patch and plays regularly for his club at the expense of bench warming lads.
I’m referring here to a player like Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande, who has had rave reviews in South Africa for his distinction on the field of play. Katsande’s coach at Naturena, Stuart Baxter, described the midfielder as a “competitor”.
“He has been an important player for us, in that he has improved his understanding of the game, his role and his decision making in the game. Even though he has picked up a lot of yellow cards I think he has played his role well.
“He picks up so many yellow cards because he is a competitor… he lives on the edge and as a coach if you take that away from him, then you take away big part of his game.
“I loathe calming him down too much because he has this intimidating factor as he competes, he breaks up the opponents play and you don’t want to take that away from him,” said Baxter.
A closer analysis of the way the current Warriors team demonstrates that we lack such a player. A player like Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda at his peak, who would win the ball in the middle of the park and dismantle the opposition’s attack in a flash of a second.
Pagels is also wrong to ignore players like Cuthbert Malajila whose goals have transformed South African side Maritzburg into a competitive side, Kingstone Nkatha, who has so far had a descent season at Kaizer Chiefs and England based midfielder Bradley Pritchard of Charlton Athletic. Zimbabwe needs players like Pritchard who are playing in competitive leagues. Pritchard plays for England’s second tier league — the Coca Cola Championship.
While I have the utmost respect for Denver Mukamba as a player, I don’t think he should be given the Warriors’ armband.
It is too early for Mukamba, who is yet to command regular game time at modest South African side BidVest Wits. Pagels must let Mukamba’s talent blossom without extra burden. Goalkeeper Washington Arubi fits the bill well in the current set up.
National team call ups must be based on form rather than inherent love for a player. Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi won the 2013 African Cup of Nations after calling-up in form players, both at home and abroad.
The same must apply in the Zimbabwean scenario. As it is Mukamba, Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Archiford Gutu are assured of first team places despite the fact that they are struggling at their clubs.
I also wonder why Chicken Inn winger Kudakwashe Mahachi fails to make the cut in the Warriors set up. Mahachi is hugely talented and should be given the chance.
Herr (Mr) Dieter Pagels, it is incorrect to bang the door on Zimbabwean players whose aspirations are to don their national team colours.
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