Togo Coach Slams Germany

18 May 2006 at 05:25 | 1318 views

Togo coach Otto Pfister(photo) has ruled out hosts Germany as a serious contender at the World Cup finals.
"Germany have no chance. I don’t think they can even get to the final, or even the semi-final," said Pfister, who is German.

"I think if they get to the quarter-final they have done very well," he told the Reuters news agency.

"It’s quite simple, you need skill and Germany doesn’t have that. They don’t even know who to put on the pitch."

Pfister’s Togo are making their World Cup debut at the finals, where they will take on South Korea, France and Switzerland during the group stages.

But the coach, who took over the team, after the sacking of Nigerian Stephen Keshi in February, only met his players for the first time six days ago.

Keshi achieved the unexpected feat of earning Togo a place at football’s showpiece event but was dismissed following a first-round exit at the Cup pf Nations in Egypt.

"It’s difficult for us, our players are playing all over the place in Europe and even now we are still waiting for players to arrive," Pfister said.

"I only met the players for the first time on Thursday."

While few expect Togo to make a lasting impression at the finals, Pfister believes the West Africans could upset the formbook.

"You have the rankings. Brazil may be number one and Togo is number 59. But it doesn’t matter. On their day, anyone can beat anyone," he said.

With a long history of coaching in Africa, the 67-year-old Pfister is used to the administrative problems surrounding the game in the continent and says he must concentrate firmly on the task at hand.

"I was not trainer during the African Nations Cup.

"I have been trainer since 10 February and everything before that doesn’t concern me.

"I start at zero and we reinforce the team," he said.

Togo were the first squad to arrive in Germany on Monday and will play their first opening group match against South Korea in Frankfurt on 13 June.

"The fact we play Korea first will help, but on paper nothing matters.

"If we get the group together and they play well, then the second round is a possibility for us," Pfister said.