WARRIORS interim coach Klaus Dieter Pagels has demanded the availability of foreign-based players for upcoming friendly matches if Zifa is serious about resuscitating the senior national team.
The Warriors are set to host Botswana at Rufaro Stadium on February 6 — a match that will be used to prepare for the 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Egypt in March.
Pagels wants all players based outside the country to be available for the match, which falls on the Fifa calendar for international friendly matches.
In the past, Zifa has often failed to raise funds to bring in foreign-based players for friendly matches.
“This date falls on the Fifa calendar and it will be good to have all the players available,” said Pagels.
“Most of the players are on a winter break and some are on mid-season break, so it’s easy to bring them in. For these kind of matches Fifa wants the players to be available two days before the match, but these are professional players, so I don’t think it will be hard for them to learn my philosophy,” the German national added.
Pagels, who was appointed to oversee the remainder of the World Cup qualifying campaign, will get down to serious business tomorrow when he conducts a tournament at Rufaro Stadium from which he will select part of the team.
“We will start with a regional tournament on Sunday (tomorrow). This tournament is to select players from the lower divisions. We will look at players under the age of 23.”
Pagels, who has made it very clear that he prefers local players to make the backbone of his team, will announce his squad soon after the trials.
“On Monday we go into camp with the local-based players and then on Sunday the foreign-based players join in. I will organise more training camps with the local players so that they understand my philosophy. They are always around, so I don’t think it will be hard for us to organise training sessions with them,” Pagels said.
Pagels has kept his squad close to his heart, but he is a huge fan of such players as Knowledge Musona, Quincy Antipas, Willard Katsande, Khama Billiat, Edward Sadomba, Archford Gutu, Bradley Pritchard and Ovidy Karuru. These are the players expected to form the core of his team.