Globetrotting German soccer coach ′Restless Rudi′ Gutendorf dies | News | DW | 15.09.2019
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Globetrotting German soccer coach 'Restless Rudi' Gutendorf dies

The footballing legend who coached a world record 55 teams — including 18 national sides — has died at the age of 93. One of his proudest moments was guiding Rwanda's national team after the 1994 genocide.

German football coach Rudi Gutendorf has died aged 93, his son Fabian told Germany's DPA news agency late on Saturday.

Dubbed "Restless Rudi," the veteran coach trained an incredible 55 teams in more than 30 countries around the world, from Antigua to Zimbabwe during a career that spanned five decades.

Born in Koblenz on the banks of the Rhine, Gutendorf enjoyed a 9-year playing career for his home-town club TuS Koblenz after World War II. After taking a coaching course, he secured a first management role with Swiss side Blue Stars Zurich in the 1955s.

Read more: Jürgen Klopp wins German Football Ambassador award 2019

Coaching proved infectious, allowing him to build an impressive CV with top-flight teams in then-West Germany, including Duisburg, Schalke, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Rudi Gutendorf in Mauritius in 1993 (picture alliance/Stephan Persch)

Restless Rudi coached a record 55 teams, including 18 national sides (pictured here in Mauritius in 1993)

Gutendorf's domestic coaching success opened the door to dozens of global opportunities, including Chile (1972-73), Venezuela (1974) Australia (1978-79) and China (1988, 1991-2).

Former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter once called him a football aid worker. With the support of the German government, he did indeed become a global soccer missionary, guiding some of the world's most humble national teams in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Read more: Trautmann: From WWII enemy to football hero

He coached Rwanda in 1999-2000 as the country was recovering from the 1994 civil war in which up to a million people were slaughtered in genocidal massacres.

"Such hate, you cannot believe. I was able to unite these two tribes to play football, and good football," he said in a 2013 interview of the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

Rudi Gutendorf training Rwandan footballers (picture-alliance/dpa)

Gutendorf said one of his proudest moments was coaching the Rwandan national team

His last national job was at Samoa in 2003 but he still yearned to manage teams deep into this eighties.

Describing his globetrotting adventures in an interview with the European soccer governing body UEFA, he said: "When I kick the bucket, I want my life to have been worth it. That's why I enjoyed taking the biggest risks."

Read more: The Guinean exchange student who became a football star in a small East German town

Gutendorf's family said in a statement that the coach had touched many people: "As a 'restless Rudi,' he was always a man full of energy and enthusiasm for his family and his beloved football,"

"We are losing someone who has enriched us every day with his big heart and positivity," Gutendorf's family said in a statement.

Here's a list of top flight and international teams that Gutendorf coached:

1955                 Blue Stars Zürich
1955–1961       FC Lucern
1961                 US Monastir
1963–1964      Duisburg
1965–1966      Stuttgart
1968                 St Louis Stars
1968                 Bermuda
1968–1970      Schalke
1970–1971      Kickers Offenbach
1971                 Sporting Cristal
1972–1973      Chile
1974                 Bolivia
1974                 Venezuela
1974                 1860 Munich
1975                 Real Valladolid
1975–1976      Fortuna Cologne
1976                 Trinidad & Tobago
1976                 Grenada
1976                 Antigua & Barbuda
1976                 Botswana
1977                 Hamburg
1979–1981      Australia
1981                 New Caledonia
1981                 Nepal
1981                 Tonga
1981                 Tanzania
1983                 Fiji
1984                 Hertha Berlin
1984                 Sao Tome & Príncipe
1984–1985      Yomiuri SC
1985–1986      Ghana
1986                 Nepal
1987                 Fiji
1988                 China
1988                 Iran U-23
1991–1992      China
1993                 Mauritius
1995–1996      Zimbabwe
1997                 Mauritius
1999                 Rwanda
2003                 Samoa

mm/rc (dpa, Reuters)

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