Germany team pay Enke tribute

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The Independent Online

The Germany team paid tribute to Robert Enke with a moving letter to the late goalkeeper ahead of last night's friendly against Ivory Coast.

The international was struck by a train travelling between Norddeich and Hanover at a railway crossing in Neustadt am Rubenberge on Tuesday last week and died at the scene. Last Saturday's friendly against Chile was called off as a mark of respect.

Enke's team-mates will play their first match since the tragedy against the Ivorians in Gelsenkirchen tonight, and ahead of the game released an emotional open letter to their former colleague.

"Your death for us is still omnipresent," it read. "It has made us all speechless, stunned, helpless. We were stunned when we got the unbearable news. We were not able to put our grief into words. We were not able to play football a few days later. We could not simply go about business as usual.

"We all needed to realise this moment of calm in order to realise what has happened – to properly understand. Perhaps we never will.

"We have long sat together and thought of you. We have been silent together, cried together and searched for answers together, but in fact found only more questions – agonising questions of 'Why could not we help you? Why did you not want to talk to us about your problems? Why is it that, in our competitive society, it is not possible to express fears over such illnesses?'

"It is for all of us a painful thought that you felt so alone and in need, even if you were with us. For you there was so much more at stake than for any other of us. Your death is so bleak. But we will do everything we can to carry on in your memory, play good football to be successful. And we will do our best to ensure that stigma and prejudice have no place in football."

Singapore climbed to second place in Asian Cup qualifying yesterday after snatching a 1-0 win against Thailand, handing former England captain Bryan Robson his first defeat as an international coach. Singapore went ahead against the run of play 38 minutes into a scrappy game when Aleksandar Duric, a 39-year-old former Olympic canoeist, leapt highest to connect with a corner and beat the keeper from close range.

Thailand looked nothing like the side who beat Singapore 3-1 away on Saturday and paid the price for sloppy defending and wayward finishing. Robson rued his team's poor marking in his first defeat as Thailand coach but said he was confident they would still qualify. "I'm very disappointed – it should have been 0-0," Robson said. "It was a lapse of concentration and a very costly one, but it's not over yet."

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