STANGE.. BUT TRUE; He's Worked for Erich Honecker, Saddam Hussein and Was Also an Informer for East Germany's Secret Police

Article excerpt


WHEN YOU'VE worked for Saddam Hussein and been accused of spying for the East German Stasi, football doesn't seem scary any more.

So Bernd Stange, the man charged with derailing England's blossoming World Cup campaign in Minsk this evening is not going to let Fabio Capello's reputation put the frighteners on him.

MONSTERS Stange's story is hard to credit, an unlikely tale of sport and politics including working indirectly for two of the true monsters of the 20th century, Communist hardliner Erich Honecker and Saddam.

According to Stasi files uncovered in 1992, the former East Germany coach had been on the payroll of the feared secret police during his spells with the national team and Carl Zeiss Jena.

Those files declared Stange was an "Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter" - unofficial employee - tasked with informing the Stasi of his players' views of the government and whether any of them were breaking the law by contacting West Germans.

Stange was sacked when those allegations surfaced, beginning an odyssey which took in Ukraine, Australia and Oman before arriving in Baghdad as coach of Iraq on the eve of the second Gulf War. …