Pagels lays out vision

HARARE - New Zimbabwe football coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels says he will only pick players who fit his philosophy as this afternoon’s international friendly against Botswana mark the start of a new era for the Warriors.

The Warriors, who will be playing their first international since the disbandment of the entire national side in October, take on the Zebras at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon. Kick-off is 3pm.

Pagels, who was appointed interim coach by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) last November, started working with his new-look squad on Monday.

“We have made a step forward with our preparations because we have all the players here. (Archieford) Gutu is here and that’s really important for our midfield play,” the German told reporters after yesterday’s training session.

“With the last 15-20 minutes of this training session I was really happy that the players got it in their minds how I want them to play.

“For them, it is not easy because they used to play with four at the back but I prefer to play with three and some of the players were confused with that but I think by tomorrow (today) we will have worked it out.”

Pagels said he is still trying to instil his own philosophy in the team, warning that it will take time for the players to grasp his concepts on the playing field.

“The bad thing is that we only have two days to prepare for this match but in these three training sessions we have had, I’m really impressed that the players are getting it,” he said.

“To make it perfect, I think we need a longer period to prepare, maybe about two or three weeks for it to work.”

The German is very particular about the way he wants his team to play, insisting he will not select players based only on their profile and the club they play for.

He said he will give every deserving player a chance, provided they fit into his plans and philosophy.

“According to my plans, I need good players and I don’t care if someone plays for Barcelona. If he is not in my plans I’m not going to use him,” he said.

“I want players that play football according to my philosophy and that is the reason all the coaches all over the world surprise reporters with the players they select.”

Many have questioned Pagels’ decision to leave out England-based midfielder Bradley Pritchard, who plays for Charlton Athletic in the Championship League.

Pagels retorted: “This player was here and I saw him. Every time I read that he is a really big player but to tell you the truth this player is not even at the level of the players we have here in the team. He is not.

“So many reporters are telling me I have to bring him, but why? Only because he plays in England is reason? No.”

Pagels said he will not read too much into the result of today’s match, but he is eager to see how the players adapt to his playing style.

“Talking about the result is a wrong thing now because we are building a new team. The result is important but for me it’s better to see at how the players can improve and get this philosophy,” he said.

The new-look Warriors squad is expected to be led by the experienced pair of goalkeeper Washington Arubi and fullback Gilbert Mapemba.

The South Africa-based duo is the most experienced in the squad after Zifa disbanded the previous team following failure to qualify for the on-going African Nations Cup finals.

Zimbabwe is using the friendly against Botswana to get the team in shape ahead of next month’s crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Egypt.

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