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Rediff.com  » Sports » 'Depression and fear of failure led to keeper Enke's suicide'

'Depression and fear of failure led to keeper Enke's suicide'

Last updated on: November 12, 2009 10:30 IST

Enke suffered from fear of failure, says family

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Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who committed suicide by jumping in front of an express train, had long suffered from depression and fears of failure, his wife and his doctor said on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Enke was hit by a train travelling at 160 kph as it passed through a crossing near Hanover on its route between Hamburg and Bremen on Tuesday.

Enke is survived by his wife Teresa and an adopted eight-month-old daughter.


Image: Soccer gloves with the inscription 'Rest in Peace, Robert' lie at a condolence area outside the headquarters of soccer team Hanover 96
Photographs: Reuters
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'We thought we could do everything'

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The German soccer federation (DFB) said Saturday's friendly with Chile had been scrapped because the players were in shock. All the players and coaches are due to attend a memorial service in Hanover in the coming days.

Enke's wife said the couple had tried to overcome years of depression through therapy.

"When he was acutely depressive it was a very difficult time because he lacked motivation and any hope of improvement," she told reporters at a news conference.

Enke, who apologised in a suicide letter for hiding the condition leading up to his death, tried hard to keep his depression secret.

His wife, dressed in black and struggling to hold back tears, said: "It is crazy because now it is coming out anyway. We thought we could do everything and we could do it with love but you can't always do it."


Image: Teresa Enke, widow of Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke

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Germany in shock after Enke's death

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The German soccer federation cancelled the Chile game saying it is necessary for the players and coaches to mourn.

"It was clear to everyone that we could not play," said DFB chief Theo Zwanziger. "We need time to process all this," he told reporters after a minute's silence before the news conference.

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff broke down in tears after adding that Enke's depression had gone unnoticed by team mates and officials.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel contacted Enke's family.

"The Chancellor communicated her shock and compassion to the widow of Robert Enke in a very personal letter," government spokesman Christoph Steegmans told reporters.


Image: Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff in tears during a news conference

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'Enke refused to be treated on the day of his suicide'

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Enke won eight international caps and was in the running to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year.

His doctor had treated Enke since 2003, during a turbulent time when the keeper had several unsuccessful transfers to clubs in Spain and Turkey. "He suffered from depression and fear of failure," Valentin Markser told reporters.

Markser said the player refused to be treated on the day of his suicide, saying he was feeling well.

After years of battling injuries and personal issues, including the death of his two-year-old daughter due to a heart ailment in 2006, Enke finally appeared poised to grab the number one spot in the national team.

He lived in the shadow of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann for almost a decade and it was only after the latter's international retirement last year that Enke emerged as a leading contender for the position, despite earning his first call-up in 1999.

He won his first cap in 2007.


Image: Fans light candles outside the headquarters of Bundesliga team Hanover 96 in memory of Robert Enke

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'Enke had several stints abroad'

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After playing for Borussia Moenchengladbach, Enke had several stints abroad at Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbahce and Tenerife before returning to the Bundesliga in 2004.

Barcelona held a minute's silence before dedicating their King's Cup victory over Cultural Leonesa to Enke on Tuesday, while Tenerife said their players would wear black armbands in their La Liga match at the weekend.


Image: Robert Enke

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Enke's death triggered an outpouring of grief

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Thousands of fans gathered outside the Hanover stadium and offices on Wednesday, leaving flowers and lighting candles in Enke's memory.

The German soccer league (DFL) said a minute's silence would be held on the next matchday, with all players wearing black armbands.

Enke's death triggered an outpouring of grief, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter saying his "thoughts are with the family and we hope they will find the strength to deal with the pain."


Image: Soccer scarfs are fixed beside lit candles in memory of German goalkeeper Robert Enke outside the stadium of Hanover 96

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