HARARE – Outgoing Zimbabwe national football team coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels says he is satisfied with his three-year stay in the country as he bids farewell next week.
The 63-year-old, who returns to his native Germany next Wednesday, held his last interview with local media yesterday and expressed satisfaction with his Zimbabwe adventure.
Pagels arrived in the country in August 2010 as a technical adviser to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) through a government-to-government arrangement between Berlin and Harare.
In his first two years, Pagels spent most of his time conducting training and coaching workshops throughout the country’s 10 provinces.
The German, however, took temporary reins of the Warriors eight months ago after Zifa parted ways with Rahman Gumbo.
Pagels took charge of the team in two 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which ended in defeat to Egypt and Guinea before leading the Warriors to a second-place finish at the just-ended Cosafa Cup in Zambia.
“There is only one bad thing in Zimbabwean football. There is no money for football here and it’s a bad thing for Zifa,” Pagels said.
“There are no sponsors and the association is fighting very hard to finance all their programmes, but the money is not there.”
Pagels came face to face with the tribulations Zifa goes through and believes there is a lot of funding needed for local football to compete with the best nations on the continent.
Things came to a head when Pagels travelled with only 14 players and the team physio for the 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Guinea last month after Zifa failed to organise flights for the rest of the Warriors delegation.
At the moment, Zifa is currently saddled with a ballooning depth that now stands at over $4 million.
“Without money in professional football you will achieve nothing. If all the leagues and the teams have sponsors and everything is okay then we can talk about professional football,” he said.
“The only thing I can repeat at the moment is that Zimbabwe has a lot of talented players and I hope there will come a situation when you can go and identify more of the Devon Chafas in the rural areas. But to go out there you need money which is not there at the moment.”
Pagels added: “The way forward is to try and get more sponsors that there can be more talent identification programmes and to open up the selection to national teams for everyone out there.
“There is also need to educate these players that have been identified and be patient for them to develop.”
The German said that once money starts to come into football, the country will start to realise success on the field.
Pagels gave an example of the German women’s football team which reached the European Championships final earlier this week.
“If you want to be successful in football, especially in professional football like the national team, you need money. There is no future in football if there is no money and if you look all over the world, success only comes to where there is money,” he said.
“The best example at the moment is the Germany women national team, who beat Sweden 1-0 to reach the final of the European Championships.
“After going out of the 2011 World Cup they worked on rebuilding of the team for the past two years and they reached the final this year.
“This is what African football needs to understand, that you need a lot of patience and money.”