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January 27, 2014

Interview: The Shirts of Our Secretary

Sascha Düerkop sighs. We just asked him how many football shirts he has. “Pfuh, a lot.” Our 26 years old general secretary starts counting. “So… I have 153 different FIFA shirts. And 20 from outside FIFA. When you take into account a few doubles, I will have about 200 shirts.”

His unique hobby started in 2011. With his… Master Thesis. “You know, I wanted to do something during the breaks.” He found the blog of Nick Warrick, and got inspired by the English collector. “Before I bought shirts during holidays. Or before the World Cup. Most of them were fake. Thanks to Warrick I found out that there were a lot of shirts available on Ebay for only 5 euros. And so I bought the first ones…”

A half year later it all freaked out. Düerkop met other collectors, and it became hard not to gather jerseys. “When I got into that community I started to swap a lot. And people all over the world helped me getting the rarest ones.”

Sascha doubts when we inquire him after the most special ones. “I love them all basically.” Finally he chooses some shirts with a story. “I have one of Central Afrika, gifted by a player who wore it in a game against Cameroon. I also have a unique piece, from a Madagascar player who scored more than 100 own goals in a league match, as a protest. And there also are the matchworn shirt from Equatorial Guinea and the Eritrean jersey that I got from my friend Dorian Marin. I admit, I fell in love with African football! So those are always the ones I want most. Especially Comoros and Djibouti seem to be impossible to get, which makes them even more sexy to me.”

Teams not in the top 100 of the FIFA-ranking? Hard to get. “Until one day, you find them somewhere by accident.” In that case: buy them immediately. “Otherwise you will regret it for a couple of years.”

However, another tip from our expert: keep yourself under control. “Some shirts are less than 10 euros, others cost like 200. You always need to save some money for the lucky day, when someone offers you a rare shirt for 150 euros. That’s also the reason why I never bought many of the easy but expensive ones, like Canada for example. I just needed to save up a bit and concentrate on the rare ones.”

Then there’s only one question remaining: what’s all the fun about collecting football shirts? “The global village! Having the world in your wardrobe! Each shirt tells a story. I am in contact with people of at least 150 countries and met many of them. It is just a nice experience to connect yourself to the world and hear the issues and joys of others. I had political debates with Central Africans and scientific talks with people from Swaziland. I send them little gifts for their help sometimes and see pictures of those years later. So I am also printing my footstep in the world and can bring a happy moment to others. That is what it is all about, I guess.”

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By Robin Toal

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