ZIFA has ended speculation on Klaus—Dieter Pagels’ future as Warriors coach after the association’s president Cuthbert Dube yesterday announced that they are on the hunt for a local coach.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA
Pagels’ contract will expire at the end of this month and while the German national has made it known that he would welcome another term with the Warriors, it is now looking highly unlikely.
Pagels, who has been holed in his country where he proceeded after the Warriors last match in Guinea, is expected in the country tomorrow to take charge of the team’s preparations ahead of the Cosafa Castle Cup in Zambia next week — which could be his last dance with the team.
Zifa has in the last few months been dithering on opening contract negotiations with Pagels, but addressing guests at Zifa Village yesterday, who included Fifa officials James Johnson, Simone Studer and Ashford Mamelodi, Dube revealed the association’s position.
“I have mentioned it many times. I have mentioned it time and time again, and I’m still going to mention it again, that we need a local coach for the Warriors. We have 16 coaches in our Premier Soccer League and then we have others in Division One. Are we saying Zimbabwe is so poor that it cannot be able to produce or train those people to have our own coaches?” Dube quipped.
Dube went on further to criticise European coaches.
“Some of these expatriate coaches we get have no allegiance to this country, nothing whatsoever. So why are we doing it? As a board, I really think we need to make a decision in the next few months. I will make sure that we make decisions in terms of our coaching recruitment culture in this country.
“If I was to be appointed a coach in Italy, for example, you would not expect me to have allegiance to Italy much more than to Zimbabwe. I would still have my heart and soul back here at home. I’m not castigating our current interim coach, no, he is not the only one in Africa. There are many like him,” Dube added.
A source who confirmed that Pagels will arrive in the country tomorrow afternoon, believed Dube’s utterances were a culmination of the frosty relationship which exists between the two.
“They (Dube and Pagels) don’t see eye to eye. Pagels really wanted to continue with the Warriors project, but the environment has not been good. He might renegotiate his government contract, but I don’t think he will want to continue serving as the Warriors coach. He is likely to revert to his initial duties as a technical advisor,” the source said.
Pagels has polarised opinion with both his style of play and selection criteria for the Warriors.
He has been criticised for overlooking players like Onismor Bhasera and Willard Katsande, who are doing well for their foreign clubs, while opting for little known players like Nicholas Guyo and Last Chibwiro who are failing to even break into first teams for Monomotapa and Black Mambas respectively.
Others have also pointed out that Pagels was trying to impose the fast-paced type of football, the tiki taka, which is alien to local players.
Pagels has already named his squad for the Cosafa Games, expected to start camp on Monday.
The Fifa delegation is in the country to help Zifa on their constitution.