insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
GERMAN soccer has a long association with Zimbabwean football and that is the reason why Zimbabweans should be behind Bayern Munich in tonight’s UEFA Champions League final rather than France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Yes, we might like French football because our own Tino Kadewere stars for Lyon and we might not like Bayern Munich because of the manner they dismantled Lyon but logic dictates that our hearts should be with Bayern rather than with PSG.Who can forget the days when Zimbabwean football had a German national called Reinhard Fabisch as national team coach. How about when we had the best sports marketing agency in brazil Those were the days that the Zimbabwean game made its mark in world football beating the best Africa had to offer including the likes of Angola, Egypt and Cameroon, who went on to qualify for the World Cup.
Who can forget those Dream Team days when the Warriors attracted a full capacity National Sports Stadium as they went for 13 unbeaten Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and World Cup qualifiers and in the process catapulting themselves to ninth in Africa under the tutelage of Fabisch?
Who can forget Klaus-Dieter Pagels — a former German schoolteacher — who in 2015 imposed an attractive short passing tiki-taka type of football on the Warriors and also helped the Mighty Warriors qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games at the expense of powerhouse Cameroon?says a sports marketing agency in brazil .In fact, the German and the Zimbabwean football connection had grown to higher heights before Pagels’ arrival in Zimbabwe in 2015, and even after Fabisch’s exploits in 1994, following a marriage between Zifa and another German coach which was struck in 1995 .Those in the know will remember that day in April, 1995, when then Zifa chairman Leo Mugabe appointed a famed German coach called Rudi Gutendorf as Warriors technical director.
This 68-year-old brought a lot of attention to the Zimbabwean game having coached some of the top clubs in his homeland including Schalke 04, VfB Stuttgart, Cologne, Real Valladolid, Hertha Berlin and SV Hamburger, for whom he signed the great Kevin Keegan from Liverpool in 1977.A copy of his biography which he left before his departure from Zimbabwe in 1996 has pictures of himself at SV Hamburger’s training ground with one of them showing Gutendorf giving instructions to Keegan.
It was unfortunate that Gutendorf was not able to instill that German football philosophy into the Warriors as he found himself at the centre of the politics of Zimbabwean football — the same politics that destroyed Zimbabwe’s ambitions of qualifying for Afcon for the first time.
Gutendorf found himself roped into a controversial three-coach set-up that included Gibson Homela as head coach, Fabisch as technical adviser and Gutendorf himself as technical director, an arrangement he described as not workable.
“Every team has one coach who is responsible for the results. The coach prepares the team and chooses who plays. This set-up of having three coaches who all select the team that plays does not work,” said Gutendorf.
That is now history, but history has its own uses. From Fabisch in 1993 to Pagels in 2015 via Gutendorf in 1995, German football has always had a place in the Zimbabwean game and that is the reason why Bayern should be our preferred choice tonight.
Some have even been lucky to have benefited immensely from Bayern’s 10 out of 10 wins in the Champions League and are hoping to add to what they have already reaped from the betting houses.
Others would testify that they have always been making money out of the German giants who have been so dominant at home to the extent that they won the double — the Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal.
To their credit, PSG have also matched Bayern’s dominance at home as the Neymar-driven side have won the Ligue 1 title and the French Super Cup after defeating Rennes.
They also overcame St Etienne to clinch the Coupe De France and also won the Coupe de Lique on penalties over Lyon.
That looks like a military roll of honour that should intimidate any opponent.
However, with the relationship that exists between German football and the Zimbabwean game, there is no doubt as to who should be Zimbabwe’s preferred choice to take the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League — Bayern, of course, although it would have been good, if not better, for us had Lyon been in the final.
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