WARRIORS coach Klaus Dieter-Pagels yesterday revealed that the Cosafa tournament would be his last national team assignment as his contract with the German government expires at the end of this month. The German coach began training with the national team players yesterday and the team is expected to leave tomorrow for Lusaka where they open their defence of the Cosafa title with a quarter-final clash against Malawi on Saturday.
After conducting his first training session at the National Sports Stadium in the morning, the coach who returned home on Saturday from Europe, opened up after he did not manage to have any meeting with the Zifa officials since returning on Saturday.
After the Warriors last World Cup qualifier against Guinea in Conakry, the coach connected to Germany and has been there till the weekend.
While in Germany, the coach finalised his paperwork to return home including his health insurance and also secured a six-month contract with a school in Stade as a sports teacher.
Our Harare Bureau, last month exclusively revealed that the expatriate coach would be leaving on 31 July as he has completed formalities for his return to Germany despite public utterances by Zifa that they have secured the coach’s services when his contract with the German government expires.
Pagels arrived in Zimbabwe in August 2010 as Zifa technical advisor under the auspices of the Olympic Solidarity Fund on the secondment of the Germany Olympic Federation.
He was then appointed national team coach following the sacking of Rahman Gumbo and Zifa did not have to cater for anything as the coach was still catered for by his employers.
Now the motherbody was expected to thrash out a new deal to retain the gaffer and there has been conflicting reports with Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze being on record saying they have extended his contract.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube said on Wednesday last week that they would engage a local coach as confusion continues at 53 Livingstone Avenue.
Yesterday, Pagels confirmed that he is going back home and has already secured a six-month contract as a sports teacher at his former school in his home town Stade.
“They (Zifa) approached me as an interim. So my contract is up. We will go to Zambia with the team and I will go home when I return. My air ticket has already been booked for 31 July.
“I signed a contract in Stade and would be starting on 6 August up to February next year. After that l will take up any offer from anywhere in football but if l don’t get any I will stay at the school for a longer period. But German football authorities have told me that there might be some short term projects I might conduct as well,” said Pagels.
The coach said as it stands he doesn’t have the African Nations Championship qualifier away in Mauritius on the weekend of 26-28 July in his programme.
“I will be sorting one or two things here with the Embassy and I don’t think I would be able to make that trip. If it is possible that the team would have returned by the 30 July then maybe I can go as I would be leaving the following day,” said Pagels.
The coach said while he enjoyed working with the players on the rebuilding exercise for the short time he was the national team gaffer, life has to go on.
“Football is not about feeling it is also business. We started this rebuilding exercise and the guys were adapting very well and needed about six or eight matches to really come up.
“I hope the boys will succeed. It was really good working with these players. I am impressed that within the short time the players were adapting, working hard and wanted to have success,” said Pagels.
However, the coach said for now he is focusing on the regional trophy and wants the best. Zimbabwe are the holders of the title which was last staged here in 2009 and would be seeking to defend it in Lusaka.
The coach would not be drawn to say whether he would want his farewell celebration to be a Cosafa triumph saying he goes into every match with an intention to win.
Yesterday, the local based players went through their paces under Pagels and his assistants Lloyd Mutasa and Nkululeko Dlamini.
The coach said the first workout was productive.
The team trained again in the afternoon and will again have two sessions today before leaving by road tomorrow.