Pagels blames ZIFA for Zambia defeat

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OUTGOING Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels has blamed ZIFA for the defeat to Zambia last weekend saying the association failed to ensure that he had available for selection the best players from the local league.

Zimbabwe failed to defend the regional title, going down 0-2 to Zambia in the final held at Ndola Stadium on Saturday.

The German coach said Zifa should have overruled the Premier Soccer League’s decision to limit him to two players from each club for the tournament.

“People always talk about team selection but for this tournament the problem is that I was only allowed to take two players each from clubs. There were better players that I should have selected but I couldn’t,” he said.

“Zifa needs to sit down with the PSL so that the national team coach is allowed to select player who rightfully deserves to be in the national team. This issue (restricted to two players from a club) only happens in Zimbabwe which is sad.”

Zambian coach Herve Renard had told journalists after the final that he had scouted for talent all over Zambia from a pool of 600 players and played numerous friendly matches prior to the tournament.

But unlike the former Africa Cup of Nations champions who had properly prepared for the Cosafa Cup, the Zimbabwe national team only had two friendly matches against Malawi and Botswana.

Pagels’ team selection has always raised eyebrows, in particular his decision to include in the squad Monomotapa’s Nicholas Guyo who has not been a regular player at his club and struggled in the game againsy Zambia.

But Pagels defended his decision saying: “When I select players, I look at their speed that is take off for the first 10 metres. I also look at the technical skill of a player and the fighting spirit. I can easily tell that the player has fighting spirit by looking straight in their eyes.

“Personally I think Guyo played well because he managed to shut down Zambia’s number 4 (Kondwani Mtonga). Guyo is a good player but as to why he is not playing at his club that is a question for Monomotapa’s coaches.”

Pagels however said the future looks bright for Zimbabwe and urged the coach who will replace him to maintain the same style of play which he had introduced.

“I cannot tell what the future holds for Zimbabwe but I can tell you that for the country to move forward they need to maintain the passing game,” he said.