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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hendrik ready to deliver

New Sabah Times
HENDRIK … born to a German father and Brazilian mother.
KOTA KINABALU: Hendrik Helmke is determined to help put the Sabahawks challenge back on the right track in the Malaysian Super League. He said he is ready to play his role, before insisting that it cannot be done alone. “One man cannot decide the game, as this is a team sport.

We need collective efforts from each member of the team to do it,” said the Sabah FA’s latest catch when met yesterday. Born to a German father and Brazilian mother, Hendrik is also aware of the high expectations that his employer expects from him.

 “It’s okay with me … no problem. I will try my utmost best for the team,” he said. Hendrik, who turns 25 on July 13, is set to make his maiden debut for the Sabahawks against KL Felda United on May 4. He was signed to replace the crocked Australian striker Michael William Baird early last week.

 But Hendrik admitted he is not at his best just yet, especially his fitness. “I’ve not played any competitive football since last November (2011). So it will take like two or three week to get my fitness. Since I came here, I have been doing extra training, on my own as well as with the team’s fitness trainer.
“I also need more real games to get to my best,” he added. On how he finds Sabah, he said: “I’m a little bit tired. The climate is totally different from where I come from, and I need a little time to adjust myself to the weather here, but it is not a big problem,” he said.

 To another question, Hendrik said, his good friend, Fernando de Abreu, who is plying his trade with Johor FC, was the man that introduced him to the MSL. “I was without a club after a season with IFK Mariehamn (Finland). I received several offers from Europeans clubs, but it was nothing conclusive.

So when he (Fernando) told me about the MSL, I decided to come and that is how I ended up here. Asked on his target, he jokingly said: “I like to beat Johor FC. At the same time, I hope the team will be able to make a commendable finish in the MSL and do well in the Malaysia Cup.”

 On his new teammates, he said: “They are good people and all of them are very friendly. I think I can adapt quite easily into the team, unlike if you are playing for big European clubs, some of the players, who played in the Champions League are rather arrogant and so on.”

 He also said that he loves to play behind two strikers. “I started as a striker, but later on, I played more in midfield, but I like to play behind the strikers … offensive midfielder. But I can also play at the centre of midfield, or even as a striker,” he said.

 Glancing at his football career, Hendrik started playing the game since he was three years old, and when he was 16, he signed a three-year contract with one of the top football academies in Germany – Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV) or better known as Hamburg FC.

 After not getting a contract with Hamburg after his academy days, Hendrik headed to Brazil to E.C. Vitoria, which is known for having one of the best youth teams in the world and many major titles such as The Youth Football Award. After a convincing trial and a test game, Hendrik who was one of the three players out of over 30 from all over South America, got signed.

 Unfortunately, due to some passport problem, as he didn’t have the double citizenship back then, the dream of playing for the first team of E.C Vitoria found a quick end and he eventually came back to Germany.

 Then Hendrik signed for a Bundesliga Fourth Division outfit Luneburger SK, which is his first senior club. He played for the club for the 2008/2009 season, before jumping ship and singed for VFB Lubeck, a Bundesliga Division Two outfit. Unfortunately, the season he signed for VFB Lubeck, they got demoted to the Third Division.

 He played for the club for two seasons, before looking for greener pastures and signed for IFK Mariehamn. He helped the Finnish outfit to finish seventh last season, and time will tell whether Hendrik has what it takes to save the Sabahawks season

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