Sean Dundee: My Life, My Story (Part II)

It was my first season in the Bundesliga [when Safa contacted me about playing for Bafana Bafana]. My club Karlsruhe told me that I had an invitation to play for the South African national team and I was excited to get the call up.

I ended up not playing for a various reasons: I was injured and didn’t play for South Africa and I was also injured and didn’t play for Germany.

The South African national team had a good team together and they were doing so well in that period of time. I was also someone new in the team and I didn’t feel as welcome as I wished. I just didn’t get that feeling that it was going to be something that I wanted to do all the time.

But I didn’t play that game [against Germany in December 1995] and later on I decided to get the German passport. Later on in my career, I met up with a lot players who were in that team and they were doing so well. Sometimes I think to myself, maybe I should have stuck in like I did when I started in Germany.

Bradley [Carnell] was in the team with me later on and I saw him going to World Cups and playing in tournaments and I thought to myself: “well it must be nice doing that”.

When I was supposed to play my first game for the German national team I got injured on the weekend and I got operated on my calf. I was the high goalscorer in the Bundesliga then. I just didn’t get going again.

Every time I was doing well and then injuries would happen – it was always silly injuries that through me off. Even at Stuttgart when I was on a good run, again injuries happened. At the beginning of my career the whole year without any injuries and after that it was small things that slowed me down.

And I had to pick myself back up again, that’s the sad part because I should have done a lot more and played a lot higher.

I got called up three times for the German national team and unfortunately, I never got to play. I spoke to Berti Vogts a lot but I knew that because of the injuries and the form that I had when I came back that I wasn’t good enough. It didn’t bother me that much. It upset me that I got injured but injuries happen to a lot of players.

That German 1996 team, I knew all of them. That was a good group of guys, it was also like a family feeling in the team but it’s changed now. Those players wouldn’t play now, they were slower and not as physical as players nowadays. But they were a group of players that never gave up.

Germany always had that mentality, it doesn’t matter if they were 1-0 down or 2-0 down, you knew that they would always come back. That was the German team back then and nowadays they’ve lost that. When they are winning you get afraid that they might lose the game.

It’s not just Germany but football has changed a lot. Players are a lot more sensitive. Back then if the team was doing bad, players would moan at other players.

And now, in the last [2022] World Cup, the team was so quiet and they are so sensitive you have to be careful that if you if you moan at a player too much he might get upset. It’s the way football has gone, it’s very sensitive and players don’t like getting moaned. I’ve had coaches and players moaned at me and I didn’t get upset, I told myself I have to do better. In the last two World Cups, maybe players earn too much money. In this last World Cup no one was really interested in Germany to be honest.

I can remember the South African World Cup [in 2010] or the German World Cup four years before that, every car and houses had flags and dressed in their national team kit. But during the last World Cup it was like a normal day. The passion wasn’t there at the last World Cup and no one expected them to get to the next round or the quarter-final.

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