Fans singing in the stands, players dancing in the warm-ups and an impressive World Cup Final stadium. There were a few surprises in store for the Werder players who attended the Kaizer Chiefs’ league match against the Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday afternoon. “It was an incredible experience,” exclaimed Sebastian Langkamp, who attended the game together with Claudio Pizarro, Theodor Gebre Selassie, the board and chairman Marco Bode.
The centre-back was fascinated by what he experienced, “how African football works” and the how the matchday was celebrated: “There was music everywhere. On the streets, in the stadium, the fans were dancing. It’s a completely different mentality. The game was and up-and-down affair too. It was a totally impulsive match,” says Langkamp about the Sundowns’ 2-1 away win. “The crowd went wild.”
His teammates shared practically identical thoughts on the experience. Claudio Pizarro was delighted to have gotten to know a totally foreign fan culture. “The atmosphere is really amazing here. The people dance in the stands and when I see something like that, I always want to join in. It’s really special here.”
The Werder board met with those in charge of the Kaizer Chiefs and their German head coach Ernst Middendorp on Thursday. One item on the agenda was to arrange the specifics for the friendly fixture on Sunday (KO 15:30 CET, live on YouTube), while also exchanging in-depth knowledge. “We had a long tour as well as a constructive meeting about the structure of the Kaizer Chiefs – about fitness coaching, social media and how the club is set up regarding many other areas. It was a fascinating exchange,” says Werder board chairman, Klaus Filbry.
The Green-Whites aren’t only representing the Bundesliga on their training camp visit to South Africa. It should also lead to new contacts being made, new experiences and ideas which can be taken back to Bremen by the board. The two visits to one of the most renowned teams in Africa should provide all that: on human, cultural and sporting levels.