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‘We’ve lost a friend’

German FA calls off Chile friendly

Following the death of goalkeeper Robert Enke, the German FA (DFB) has called off Saturday’s international friendly against Chile. “We unanimously agreed we couldn’t go ahead with the Chile match. We ask for your understanding as there’s no alternative decision we could make. We need to pause for thought at this time,“ DFB President Dr Theo Zwanziger announced on Wednesday.

Germany coach Joachim Löw commented: “No-one feels like returning to business as usual at the moment. We’ve lost a friend. Even football has to take time out at this point. We are in deep mourning for Robert Enke.“

Players shocked

At the Germany team base in Bonn, Zwanziger, Löw, DFB General Secretary Wolfgang Niersbach and team manager Oliver Bierhoff resolved to call off the friendly match. The team, represented by the players’ council, also backed the decision. The squad has left the training base until after a memorial service on Sunday, when the players will reassemble in Düsseldorf to prepare for a meeting with Cote D’Ivoire in Gelsenkirchen on 18 November.

The German Football League (DFL) has announced that teams in the top two divisions will wear black armbands on the next matchday as a mark of respect to Enke. A minute’s silence will also be observed. Hannover keeper Enke took his own life on Tuesday evening. The 32-year-old had been suffering from depression for years, it has emerged. “No-one, no-one at all, had any reason to suspect Robert Enke was suffering from this illness,“ Bierhoff said.

Löw ‘shocked and empty’

“It’s hard to put my feelings into words,“ said Löw, “I’m shocked and completely empty. I feel with my whole heart for his wife and family. He was a great guy. We had some wonderful talks. He was a listener and had incredible respect for others. Fairness was always a vital part of his life. His death is a huge loss. We will miss him, as a top-class sportsman and an extraordinary man.“