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Manfred Starke Got Namibia At Heart

South Africa's forward Sibusiso Vilakazi (C) marked by Namibia's Manfred Starke (L) and defender Danzil Haoseb during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Namibia at the Al Salam Stadium in the Egyptian on 28 June 2019. (Photo by Khaled Desouki)
Manfred Starke the newcomer of 1.Kaiserslautern FC, during the interview with the German media stated that Namibia is in the heart. The 28-year old footballer recently has just finished signing off the contract with the new football club, FCK a moment the Afcon tournament ended, Manfred has brought an international touch to Betzenberg side.

The paper works could not completed, because the Namibian national team called. He ran to his homeland in the African Cup, but landed into a heavy group (Group of Death). However, a very special experience for the Manfred Starke. Previously, he had played in the Namibian national team as from 2012, but after declined the invitation to attend sport workshop in Namibia while at the time he was also completing the preparation with his first youth club, Hansa Rostock FC. He never show up for the course, the relationship between the national team's management sparkled little bit confusion. Now he has returned back to his German base on a fresh start with new club.

Starke was born in Namibia and grew up in Windhoek,and he has both German and Namibian citizenship, but moved to Germany at the age of 13. His father ''Richard Starke'' was very active in football managing with Windhoek SK (Soccer Division Chairman) from 2002 to 2010. Mr. Richard obtained UEFA B Licence from coach-training and assistance of Heinz Werner, a German sport trainer from Union Berlin. It was Werner who initially took Starke to Germany.

"Windhoek is my home," says Starke. Once a year, usually during Christmas he travels to Namibia. Always together with his sister Sandra, who also plays for SC Freiburg in the Allianz Frauen-Bundesliga. "I feel very comfortable in Germany and I will not move so quickly, but my home will always be Namibia." In Namibia there is more relaxation than in Germany, says Starke.

In 63 minutes Starke has managed to innovate a goal in the DFB Cup match  FCK against FSV Mainz (2: 0), although there was a bit of luck.

Manfred Starke hashardly any time to breathe before the start of the season in the 3rd league . The 28-year-old initially moved from FC Carl Zeiss Jena to FC Kaiserslautern. But before he joined the FCK in training, he participated with Namibia in the African Cup in Egypt. In the interview with DFB.de Starke speaks with his colleague Dominik Dittmar about his participation in the national team and the change to FCK.

DFB.de: The move to FC Kaiserslautern, the African Cup with Namibia: Was there already time to be at home with the new club, Mr. Starke?

Manfred Starke: It really happened a lot in a short time. I've been back in Germany for now and have already found a new apartment. Currently I am still clearing out moving boxes. [last month] I finally arrived.

DFB.de: What was it like to be part of the Africa Cup?

Starke: Even though we were eliminated in the group stage against strong opponents like Morocco, the Ivory Coast and South Africa, it was a great experience that I do not want to miss. I'll tell you about that in a few years' time.

DFB.de: In fact, the African Cup was your second participation in an international tournament, right?

Starke: Sure I play fistball for the U18 World Cup. That's true. I was born in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. The Germans who live there regularly play fistball. That's how I came to the sport. At that time I even traveled extra specially for the tournament during the winter break from Germany to Namibia.

DFB.de: Back to football: Was the climate in Egypt the biggest challenge?

Starke: That was already a huge change. It certainly helped that we prepared for two weeks in Dubai before the tournament. There the temperatures was 42 degrees even more extreme. So I could withstand the heat better at the tournament, especially since we have played the group match against South Africa until 22 clock local time.

DFB.de: You were last nominated for the national team in 2013. Why?

Starke: In the season 2014/2015 I had preferred the preparation under coach Peter Vollmann at FC Hansa Rostock than the Namibian national team. With this decision, the association [NFA] was not very happy. That is past now!  We have spoken out and resolved the matter together.

DFB.de: Did you have communication problems within the national team after a long time?

Starke: I know many players from my last nomination. We do understand one another. I mainly spoke English with my fellow players. After I got used to Afrikaans, a mixture of German, English and Dutch, I got a translation in the local language. With assistant coach Collin Benjamin, who was playing football for Hamburger SV during his career in the Bundesliga, I was able to speak in German with him.

DFB.de: What differences are there in the game preparation?

Starke: The processes are very similar to the stadium. Only in the cabin, the differences become clear. The Namibian national team sings and dances a lot. In a song, every player plays with his characteristics. They sing a song about me "You are so white, you are so beautiful". As the only player with a fair complexion and I have appreciated.

DFB.de: And what about your own dance and singing skills?

Starke: I preferred to leave the dancing to the other players. (laughs) In the places where I am comfortable and excited, I also sang along. Otherwise I limited myself to rhythmic clapping.

DFB.de: Did differences in the mentality become noticeable?

Starke: They actually existed. During training and at the meetings, I was almost over-punctual. Even though we were eliminated in the group stage, we were ambitious. However, not everything is seen as dogged in Namibia. Since we could look here in Germany every now and then something not good like there.

DFB.de: Now it's up to you to prepare for the 3rd league. Why did you decide to change to the FCK?

Starke: When 1. FC Kaiserslautern called, me I do not just hang up. I had very good discussions with the players,management and I have a directly good communication. The whole package was right, the club suits me.

DFB.de: The FC Homburg vs 1. FC Kaiserslautern (3-1) in the friendly match was not yet what you imagine, right?

Starke: We were not aggressive enough in the duels and gave opponents a free space. However, we must not make the mistake of being put down by the Homburg game. Then the crucial moment has came in our first match at home-ground and crowd support against the SpVgg Unterhaching. We corrected slightly errors.
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