55 teams and 32 countries later, coaching legend Rudi Gutendorf passes, aged 93

September 16 – Rudi Gutendorf, the globetrotting German who is in the Guinness Book of Records for having coached 55 teams in 32 countries across five continents from Antigua to Zimbabwe, has died aged 93.

Gutendorf’s managerial career spanned half a century, including time at top-flight teams in his native Germany and 18 national sides that included Australia, China and Fiji.

‘Restless Rudi’ , as he was dubbed, was born in Koblenz and enjoyed a nine-year playing career for his home-town club TuS Koblenz after World War II. After taking a coaching course, he secured his first management role with Swiss side Blue Stars Zurich in the 1950s. His final job in management was with Samoa in 2003.

In Africa, Gutendorf managed no fewer than seven countries – Botswana, Tanzania, Sao Tome e Principe, Ghana, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

When at Rwanda in 1999-2000 the country was still recovering from the 1994 civil war in which up to a million people were slaughtered. “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 referring to the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

German vice-president Dr Rainer Koch called him an “outstanding ambassador of German football”.

To put his remarkable career in perspective here is a full list of the teams he 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

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