Kahn promises to entertain Kolkata in farewell match

May 25th, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by admin  

By Abhishek Roy
Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) Legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn arrived here along with his club Bayern Munich to make his last international appearance before handing over the gloves to his successor. For Kolkatans and Mohun Bagan in particular Tuesday will be the day when they see Kahn turning out at a full-house Salt Lake Stadium. The rising excitement was palpable when the German Bundesliga team touched down at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport Sunday afternoon.

Kahn’s last professional match in Bayern’s colours against Mohun Bagan Tuesday will be a memorable one as the great man himself promised on arrival.

The exhibition match will bring down the curtain to Kahn’s illustrious career spanning over two decades and he will certainly feel he is in the right place for his farewell from international football when he walks out on to the turf Tuesday, going by his interaction with the media at the team hotel.

“I would love to thank everyone for a lovely welcome. I think we have to play in front of 120,000 spectators. I have expectations from myself and my club will fulfil them on Tuesday,” Kahn said.

Kahn is expected to be handing over the gloves ceremonially to his successor Michael Rensing during the second half of the match and then do a lap of the stadium.

But fans back home won’t be disappointed either as Kahn will play his last match in Munich, but for the national team in his farewell match against Bayern in September.

Kahn’s last World Cup at home two years ago will rankle as Jens Lehmann was preferred as the number one goalkeeper by national coach and his former teammate Jurgen Klinsmann. Kahn despite being at the best of his form didn’t play a single match; his dream of playing a World Cup at home crashed.

He made no secret of his distress, saying he was sad but not disappointed.

Germany finished third and Kahn had said after that he could have won the World Cup for the team.

“Certainly it was sad. But I was not disappointed. Coach Klinsmann had some plans and we had to go accordingly. I am happy that Klinsmann is coming to Bayern to wish me all the best,” said Kahn.

Asked to identify the best moment of his career, Kahn said: “There are some moments. But it is very difficult to single out one in a career of 20 years.”

His record speaks for itself. He is one of the most successful German players of recent history, having won eight German championships, six German cups, the UEFA Cup (1996), the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup (both 2001).

Kahn has been Bayern’s ever-reliable keeper and took on the mantle of German number one after Andreas Kopke’s departure from the international scene. His individual contributions have earned him four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards and two German Footballer of the Year trophies. He has also won the Golden Ball for his performance in the 2002 World Cup.

Asked to name the best goalkeeper of his times, Kahn said: “I think my coach Sepp Maier is the best goalkeeper I have ever seen. But Gianluigi Buffon, Edwin van der Sar and Petr Cech are also good.”

Kahn says after retirement he will take some time out to enjoy life, work on his new book and join a leading German television channel as an expert.

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