Dar es Salaam. Former National Sports Council (NSC) chairman, Said El-Maamry, has joined the country’s football fraternity in mourning Rudolf Gutendorf.
Gutendorf, the German tactician, who was once described as a “football missionary” by the BBC, holds a world record for managing 55 teams — including 18 national sides — across 32 countries and five continents.
“It is with deep sadness that I have received news of the death of Gutendorf,” El-Mamry said yesterday.
He noted that his death was a great loss Tanzania owing to his immense contribution to football development in the country.
“Rudi,” as the footballing legend was popularly known, died on Friday in Germany at the age of 93.
In a career that spanned 53 years, he coached teams from Antigua to Tanzania - winning the 1980 Oceania Nations Cup with Australia.
He coached the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, from 1981 to 1983.
Gutendorf’s son Fabian confirmed the news of his death late on Saturday.
“In him we are losing someone who has enriched us every day with his big heart and positivity,” Gutendorf’s family said in a statement.
According to his son, Gutendorf, who was born in Koblenz on the Rhine river, died of old age.
While his club coaching career was mainly in his native Germany, and early on in Switzerland, football took him around Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
“Gutendorf was always a man full of energy and enthusiasm for his beloved football,” El-Maamry – the Football Association of Tanzania (FAT –now TFF) chairman from 1974 to 1987, said.
He added: “He has left his mark in Africa as well, having coached the national teams of Tanzania, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Ghana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.”
According to El-Maamry, “Rudi” propelled Taifa Stars to higher heights of success during his reign.
“It makes us grateful and proud to have spent my time with him,” he said.
Born on August 30, 1926, Gutendorf holds a Guinness World Record for coaching 55 teams in 32 countries.
Besides Taifa Stars, the other national teams he coached include Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Botswana, New Caledonia, Nepal, Tonga, Tanzania, Fiji, Sao Tome & Principe, Iran (U-23), China, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.