A Swabian fine tunes South Africa′s goalkeepers | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.06.2009
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A Swabian fine tunes South Africa's goalkeepers

Rainer Dinkelacker has been training goalkeepers at the South African football club Kaizer Chiefs for nine years. Three of his pupils are on South Africa's team during the Confederations Cup.

Rainer Dinkelacker

Rainer Dinkelacker drills his players in Johannesburg

The 60-year-old Dinkelacker from Boeblingen in southern Germany is a legend among German goalkeeper coaches. He's traveled the world educating young goalies in the art of keeping the ball out of the net.

The Swabian has already seen success as a coach in Austria, Tunisia and the USA, and over the last nine years he's been working for one of the biggest clubs in Africa: the Kaizer Chiefs in Johannesburg.

The club was founded in 1970, mainly with players from the township of Soweto. Since then, the club has won 11 league titles and numerous cups, making the Kaizer Chiefs the most successful club in South Africa.

Rowen Fernandez is one of Dinkelacker's prodigies from the Kaizer Chiefs. After working with Dinkelacker, Fernandez was named the national goalkeeper of South Africa and moved to German club Arminia Bielefeld, becoming the first African keeper in the Bundesliga.

Rainer Dinkelacker trained all three of South Africa's keepers

All three of South Africa's national goalkeepers received training under Dinkelacker at the Kaizer Chiefs

Respected by players and coaches alike

During his two stints as head coach of the Kaizer Chiefs, Mushin Ertugral knew he could count on good goalkeepers under Dinkelacker's management. In addition to Fernandez, Dinkelacker worked with Brian Baloyi and Itumeleng Khune at the Chiefs, who've turned out to be two more examples of his success as a coach.

"All three of them play on the national team," says Ertugral. "In that you can see the value of (Dinkelacker's) work."

Chiefs' forward Kaizer Motaung Jr. is also a fan of Dinkelacker.

"He could work directly in the German Bundesliga or in the English Premier League. He always has new exercises in training. His work speaks for him. The Kaizer Chiefs' goalkeepers are the best in the whole country," says Motaun.

Ertugral adds that European coaching tactics aren't directly applicable in South Africa, but Dinkelacker has managed to successfully make the transition.

"(Dinkelacker) is approachable for the players," he says. "In Europe, we foster a working relationship where distance and personal freedom are important, and you don't let people get too close to you. It's different here - here you need a touch, and a little social contact to build trust."

Dinkelacker himself says the secret of his success is understanding the South African players.

"If you speak about South Africa, you should already know the mentality of the people," says Dinkelacker. "Screaming or pressure doesn't help at all. If you do that, they close up very quickly."

Author: Ulrich Reimann/Matt Zuvela

Editor: Neil King

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