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Ex-Socceroos coach and football nomad Rudi Gutendorf dies aged 93

In a career that spanned 53 years, he coached in 28 countries from Antigua to Zimbabwe – winning the 1980 Oceania Nations Cup with Australia.

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After the Socceroos had failed to qualify for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Gutendorf was appointed by Soccer Federation President Sir Arthur George.

He sought to mould a team focused on local talent with an emphasis on youth development but he could not lead them to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, losing out to New Zealand.

Gutendorf’s record with the Socceroos in 37 A and B internationals was 15 wins, 10 draws and 12 losses.

While his club coaching career was mainly in his native Germany, and early on in Switzerland, football took him around Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Gutendorf touched many people.

Kiwi excursion: Gutendorf, with Socceroos captain Murray Barnes and Les Scheinflug in Auckland in 1981.

Kiwi excursion: Gutendorf, with Socceroos captain Murray Barnes and Les Scheinflug in Auckland in 1981.Credit:AP

“It makes us grateful and proud to have spent our lives at his side and we will never forget him,” the family statement added.

“As a ‘restless Rudi,’ he was always a man full of energy and enthusiasm for his family and his beloved football.”

He coached the national teams of Bermuda, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Trinidad &Tobago, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Botswana, New Caledonia, Nepal, Tonga, Tanzania, Fiji, Sao Tome & Principe, Ghana, Iran (U-23), China, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

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