Pagels keen on Warriors return
By Grace Chingoma
Former Warriors coach, Klaus Dieter Pagels, says he is still interested in another dance with the senior national football team provided ZIFA can secure a sponsor to cater for his welfare.
The German coach is willing to come back to Africa and revive his romance with the Warriors six years after leaving them.
Pagels arrived in Zimbabwe as ZIFA technical advisor in 2011 following his secondment to the association by the Germany Olympic Committee.
He was then appointed interim coach the following year after Rahman Gumbo resigned following the failed 2013 AFCON qualifying campaign.
Pagels took over the 2014 World Cup qualification process and presided over matches against Guinea and Egypt.
His team had fresh-faced players, and was captained by Denver Mukamba, who then was only 20, while the chief striker was Knowledge Musona.
Musona is now the skipper of the team.
The Warriors coaching post is set to become vacant on December 31 this year when Antipas’ short-term contract expires.
ZIFA haven’t indicated whether they are going to renew the interim coach’s contract or will look for another coach.
Speaking to The Herald from his home town in Stade, Germany, Pagels said he could create a wonder story with the Warriors and finish his project which came to an abrupt end in 2013.
“I am really interested. But I don’t have a sponsor (for my welfare),” Pagels said.
During the first stint, the coach didn’t have to worry about ZIFA’s financial woes since his welfare was fully looked after by the German government.
Unfortunately, Pagels cannot return to Africa under the same arrangement which also brought to Zimbabwe the late Reinhard Fabisch whose Dream Team became the darlings of the country.
But Pagels is willing to work under a revised contract as long ZIFA are able to craft a reasonable package.
“It’s important to get more sponsors for ZIFA. They have to try every day. I know it’s not easy but the stakeholders voted for this board and hope for a better future,” he said.
Pagels believes ZIFA have the capacity to arrange for his funding with sponsors.
The former Warriors coach is yet to get in touch with the national association and lobby for the position but has engaged his close friend, Nelson Matongorere, whom he worked with, to try and engage ZIFA.
A source, who is close to Pagels, also indicated the German coach was “more than willing” to come back to Zimbabwe and coach the Warriors.
“I met him (Pagels) in Hamburg, Germany, last week and we had a good meeting where we discussed a number of football issues and it was during this discussion that he indicated he wants to come and coach Zimbabwe,’’ said the source.
“He said that, at least, he is prepared to coach the Warriors for a reasonable salary.
“Pagels said he wants to take Zimbabwe to its first World Cup in 2022 in Qatar and I personally think a good scenario will be Pagels as head coach with Joey Antipas and Lizwe Sweswe coming in as his assistants.’’
ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said they have a set procedure which they will follow to hire a national team coach.
“There are procedures in selecting a Warriors coach, the post has to be advertised first and he applies,” said Gwesela.
ZIFA have crippling financial challenges, which have made it hard for them to secure a full-time coach. The Herald