A common misconception: pro footballers can play football and nothing more. That's a mistake, as proven by the many German footballers playing abroad. They are the ambassadors for Germany and they hope to get your vote.
Rudi Gutendorf's voice is quiet and humble when he says: "I've done nothing else in my life other than football." From a man who was born in 1926 and learned his football in Koblenz during the Second World War, that statement is not false. But Gutendorf is selling himself short; he has done far more than just teach football. He has had 56 different coaching jobs in 28 countries - a record - and always showed the important value of social involvement to his players in addition to his natural fascination for the game.
'Football can achieve a lot'
"I have always seen myself as a German ambassador in a tracksuit. Football can achieve a lot," said Gutendorf, who has worked in Fiji, Nepal and Tanzania in addition to being head coach of Meidericher SV (now called MSV Duisburg) during the Bundesliga's inagural season in 1963. He lives football and is the ideal patron for the German Football Ambassador initiative. The idea: during their time abroad, coaches and players represent their homeland, are examples and standard bearers, are in the spotlight and thus have a special responsibility.
Eleven German players who are currently playing abroad have been nominated for the audience award. The winner and captain of the "World 11" will be selected from this illustrious football circle: Thomas Broich, Fabian Ernst, Arne Friedrich, Robert Huth, Sami Khedira, Mirsolav Klose, Kevin Kuranyi, Per Mertesacker, Anja Mittag, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Özil. Voting is done on the German Football Ambassadors website. The audience award comes with a 1,000 euro prize, which will be used for a youth football project in the winner's current country of residence.
Award ceremony on May 13
Jury members supporting the initiative include footballer Uwe Seeler and actor Peter Lohmeyer. Deutsche Welle and the Goethe Institute, along with national partners like the football magazine "Kicker" and the German Academy for Football Culture, have given the initiative an international face.
And you can vote too! Check out the link below.
The awards are judged on the reputation and sporting success of the nominees in their host countries and their lasting impact on the field. In addition to the audience prize, the German Football Ambassador Award and the honorary award for Lifetime Achievement will be handed out at the ceremony in Nuremberg on May 13. Five coaches, who are working or worked abroad, are nominated for the main prize: Otto Pfister, Holger Obermann, Michael Weiss, Bernd Stange and Jürgen Klinsmann. The presenter for the audience prize is Christoph Lanz, Director of Global Content at DW. The event will be hosted by DW presenter Neus Perez, and you can count on Rudi Gutendorf being there.