Local fans behind Germany

2010-07-07 00:00

THE second semi-final of the 2010 Fifa World Cup — between Germany and Spain — will take place this evening at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Both sides have been well supported in South Africa, and thousands of their fans have travelled from Europe to show support for their teams.

It is expected that, closer to home, it will be the Germans who enjoy the support of many residents who live in the midlands area.

Wartburg, New Hanover, Dalton, Greytown and Hermannsburg in particular all have a very strong German presence dating back five generations.

The Witness spoke to a few Wartburg residents, asking them about their World Cup experiences, their German allegiance and the possibility of Germany winning a fourth World Cup.

Eric Vorwerk, a bursar at Hermannsburg School, said support for Germany in these areas is overwhelming.

“We had a convoy of cars leaving together when Germany played Australia in Durban,” he said.

“Bafana was our first choice, but we have such close ties with Germany and we have maintained our heritage through our churches and schools, so we are 100% behind Germany now.”

Vorwerk said Hermannsburg School, where German is a compulsory subject, is one of five schools in South Africa that benefits financially from Germany.

“We have an exchange programme with a German school near Stuttgart and we even receive teachers who come to us on contract work,” he added.

“We have very close ties with Germany.”

Pastor Rene Risch of the Wartburg Lutheran Church says support for the Germans has been “crazy”.

He has organised a Stammtisch — a German get-together in a pub or bar — for today’s game.

“Some people are going down to the game, but those of us who aren’t will get together and support Germany,” he said.

“When the tournament began we bought into the German media’s ideas that the side was too young and too weak,” Risch said.

“But after the England and Argentina matches everybody is expecting a German win against Spain.”

Wartburg Junior School sports coach Udo Lutge described the support in the Wartburg area as being very vocal, saying that there is now a genuine belief that Germany will win the World Cup.

Lutge recently attended a winter camp with 40 schoolchildren from the area.

“We took a vote, asking the kids who they thought was going to win the World Cup,” he said.

“Forty out of 40 children said that they thought Germany would win it.”

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