New Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) technical advisor German national Klaus-Dieter Pagels arrived in the country yesterday and immediately said he would not be taking over as Warriors head coach.
The German coach touched down at the Harare International Airport yesterday just after 2pm and was met by Zifa technical director Nelson Matongorere.
Although he was evasive about his official position in the technical set–up, he said he would be in a position to reveal more about his official position after he meets the Zifa board over the weekend.
He, however, revealed that he had signed a two-year contract and said he would be working with the junior, senior and women’s terms.
Pagels also revealed that his main focus would be on youth development.
This year Zimbabwe was not represented in continental competitions after Zifa pulled out of the Under -17 and 20 African Youth Championship qualifiers because of the unavailability of funds.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay at the airport, Pagels said he was going to assist Zimbabwe build a solid junior football development structure.
He, however, bemoaned the lack of equipment in junior football development programmes.
“I want to assist in the development of junior football for both the men and women’s teams. However, on my last visit I noticed that there are no resources in that area.
“At one area I saw over a 100 children using just a single ball for their training sessions.
“There are good young players that I noticed on my last visit to the country but most of them have not realised their potential because there is no funding in the local game.
“However, I will always be available to assist whoever is appointed as the senior national team coach in any way I can but at the moment my main aim would be to assist the junior teams ,” said Pagels.
Pagels was in Zimbabwe in October last year on a government-to-government agreement between Zimbabwe and Germany “to conduct the evaluation of a long-term project”.
Pagels (60) was recommended by the German Football Federation to assist Zifa in special technical areas of football development.
He has been coaching in his country since 1978, mostly in the German First Division which is a rank below the Bundesliga.
Pagels’ involvement in local football is being financed by the German federal government in a deal similar to the one that brought the late Reinhard Fabisch, coach of the famous “Dream Team” of the early ’90s.
Pagels said he was not a stranger to African football after having worked with fellow German Theo Buker who once coached in the Egyptian league at Ismailia.
“I’m not a stranger to African football having worked with Theo Buker who once coached in Egypt.
“However, in the modern game football is the same everywhere, the only difference is that in Africa there is not much funding as compared to Europe,” Pagels said.
He also said Zimbabwe was so close to his heart since his Malawi-based daughter was married to a Zimbabwean.
A staunch Bayern Munich fan, Pagels is based in Hamburg where he was a gymnastics teacher before he embarked on a coaching career.
He played in the German Third Division before embarking on a coaching career in that country’s First Division.