Germany stars to honour tragic footballer Enke

13th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Thousands will gather Sunday to pay their respects to Robert Enke, who died Tuesday after flinging himself under a busy commuter train at a small town near Hanover.

Berlin -- Germany's football stars led by captain Michael Ballack will pay their last respects to Robert Enke on Sunday in a memorial service at the goalkeeper's home ground following his tragic suicide.

Enke, 32, who had been set to travel with the Germany squad to next June's 2010 World Cup in South Africa, flung himself under a busy commuter train at a small town near Hanover on Tuesday evening having suffered from depression.

Germany's friendly international against Chile on Saturday in Cologne has been called off as a mark of respect.

A public memorial service will be held at 11:00 am (1000 GMT) in Hanover 96's stadium, which the Germany squad -- led by Chelsea's Ballack -- will attend, before Enke is buried in his home town of Neustadt am Ruebenberge, near Hanover.

Enke's broken-hearted widow has revealed how her husband had been treated for depression since 2003 and had an acute fear of failure.

After losing his place in the Germany team in September after suffering from a stomach infection, the Hanover goalkeeper sought treatment six weeks ago and his psychologist, Dr Valentin Marksel, revealed details on Thursday of Enke's suicide note.

"In the letter, he apologised for deliberately concealing his state of mind over recent days, which was necessary in order to be able to put his suicide plan into action," Marksel said.

On the day of Enke's suicide, Marksel revealed the Germany star had telephoned his local hospital to cancel a counselling appointment.

"He called off all therapy appointments for the next few weeks, until further notice, because he said he was feeling better."

Admitting he was still in shock at the news, Marksel said he had seen no indication Enke was planning his own death.

"Unfortunately, we did not succeed in protecting him from suicide," said an emotional Marksel.

"In my opinion, he was not suicidal and there was no indication that he needed to be hospitalised."

Enke leaves behind his wife Teresa, 33, and eight-month-old daughter Leila, whom the couple adopted in May -- three years after their two-year-old daughter Lara died from a heart infection.

Enke had feared authorities might intervene and take their adopted daughter into care if he went public about his depression.

"He was afraid they would take Leila away from us if he admitted he had bouts of depression," said Teresa after it emerged nobody at Enke's club Hanover knew about his personal problem.

On Wednesday evening around 35,000 people took part in a solemn procession through central Hanover to pay their respects.

The march to Hanover's stadium -- where masses of candles, football shirts and flowers have been left in tribute -- came after a service in the city centre, attended by Germany coach Joachim Loew and Ballack.

A spokesman for Hanover 96 said the team had not decided yet whether to play their next Bundesliga game at Schalke 04's Gelsenkirchen stadium with many of Enke's team-mates still distraught at the news of his suicide.

"We will look and see how the squad are early next week, whether we can get back into regular training again," said Hanover spokesman Andreas Kuhnt.

"We need to see if our players are in the correct mental state to prepare for a Bundesliga game.

"We don't know if we will be able to play against Schalke, I think our colleagues there will understand."

Hanover's next home game is against German giants Bayern Munich on November 29.

Ryland James/AFP/Expatica

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