Pagels gets down to work

HARARE - Zimbabwe national football interim coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels and his technical bench will today hold a meeting in the capital to lay out a roadmap for the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt in March.
Pagels, who arrived back in the country from his festive season holiday in Germany at the weekend, will meet with his assistant coaches Lloyd Mutasa and Nkululeko Dhlamini alongside manager Shariff Mussa in the capital.

Peter Ndlovu, who is also part of the Warriors setup by virtue of being national Under-23 coach, will not attend the meeting as the is still recuperating from injuries he suffered in the December road accident that claimed his brother Adam’s life.

It was not clear by yesterday whether Ian Gorowa, who is also part of the coaching staff, will attend the meeting.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows mentor was appointed into the technical team as the special assignment assistant coach.

The German told the Daily News he will be in a position tooutline his plans for the Warriors after discussions with his lieutenants.

Pagels was handed temporary reigns of the Warriors at the end of November after Rahman Gumbo resigned following the Warriors’ failure to qualify for next week’s African Nations Cup finals.

Zimbabwe were dumped out of the competition by Angola on away goals rule in the final qualifying round last year.

The German first arrived in the country three years ago on a government-to-government agreement aimed at helping the growth of grassroots football in Zimbabwe.

During his stay, Pagels has been mainly active in youth and women football, but will now get a chance to work with the senior national team side when they take on the Pharaohs on March 22.

Egypt have already secured three friendly internationals ahead of March’s clash with the Warriors.

Although they failed to qualify for South Africa, Egypt are not resting on their laurels.

In the next coming days, Bob Bradley’s men will play Afcon-bound Ghana and Ivory Coast in Abu Dhabi.

These two matches will give the Pharaohs some much-needed match practice since the Egyptian domestic league has been stopped for almost a year now.

Later in February, the Pharaohs will travel to Madrid where they are scheduled to engage South American side Chile.

The perennially cash-strapped Zifa is yet to secure any friendly internationals for the Warriors ahead of the Egypt meeting.

Identifying possible opponents to play before going to Cairo is likely to be one of the main agenda on today’s meeting between Pagels and his technical team.

The Warriors coaches also need to start drawing up a list of players who will be in their scope for the clash against the North Africans.

Zifa disbanded the entire national team after their failure to qualify for this month’s Afcon finals.

Zimbabwe needs to win at least all their remaining four matches in Group G if they are to harbour hopes of progressing to the last qualifying round of the competition.

The Warriors currently sit in third place in the group with only one point from two games, some five points behind the Pharaohs at the summit.

Guinea is in second place with three points while Mozambique anchors the group with a single point with a lesser goal difference.

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