CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE REPORTING
**AIPS Young Reporters/BAKU: It is a cool afternoon in Baku for Germany’s Sara Dabritz as she takes time in her hotel lobby to give an interview a day after her team’s first match in the FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup.
The coolness must surely be welcome to Dabritz and her team-mates who clung on to a 2-1 lead over Ghana on Sunday, wilting towards the end of the match in the relentless Azerbaijani heat at the Dalga Arena.
Though Dabritz gives off an air of maturity beyond her 17 years when she says “Yes it was very hot but that’s the rules of football and we have to cope with it. I don’t think we should have to change anything.”
That maturity comes across throughout the interview. Even when asked about where she wanted her career to go next, the SC Freiburg player insists that her focus is firmly on the tournament now and nothing more.
“After this first victory we will work hard on another two victories to win the group and go through to the quarter-final” she said.
“Of course this tournament is a great opportunity to show skills and talent but right now my concentration is on this tournament and our challenges for the next matches and that is all I think about.”
Dabritz recalls how she started playing football at the age of five back home in Bavaria on the streets amongst boys and quickly loved it.
To some, women playing with boys may seem rare but not to Dabritz who adds that in her local area there are plenty of opportunities for women to get involved in the beautiful game: “I come from a region where there are many clubs, also the little villages all have women’s football and it’s quite normal nowadays that women play football.”
In the victory over Ghana Dabritz, wearing the number 10, was often to be seen pulling the strings between the midfield and the forward – not unlike a certain little Argentinian who also wears number 10 and that she admits to idolising.
“His [Lionel Messi] technical skills are overwhelming, he can put his mates into good play and he gets in good positions all the time, he’s always dangerous.”
Though her admiration of Messi is clear and enthusiastic her other idol from the world of women’s football in Germany may not be the obvious choice to some. Not Birgit Prinz or Alexandra Popp, but 20 year old Dzsenifer Marozsán who currently plays for FFC Frankfurt.
It shows once again Dabritz’s intense focus on her level right now that she chooses Marozsán who also played for Germany in a FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup, reaching third place in the inaugural 2008 edition.
The young Bavarian shows her first signs of shyness when asked about her hobbies outside football saying she loves to “meet up with friends and go shopping. I like to listening to music as well.”
She and her team will have to work extremely hard in the next match against China on Wednesday. The Chinese thrashed Uruguay 4-0 in their first match but the team spirit in the German camp is evident through Dabritz’s words.
“We are one team and the most important thing is to do whatever everybody is capable of doing to help the team, and that is what I will do. Of course if I can score lots of goals to help the team then I’m happy.”
** AIPS, the international sports media association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with the co-operation of FIFA and supported by the Azeri Ministry of Youth & Sport
= = = =