I was reading the above book The Rough Guide to Cult Football the other day, which contains different sections on the pecularities and legendary figures of the world's game. The book's sections include The Roots (strange, amusing, beginnings to the world's game), The Legends (players that make the game by being electrifying, amusing, different, etc.), The Gaffers (coaches that make the game by being similiarly amusing, different, etc.), Unique Clubs, Biggest Games, and etc.

Well, one player that actually played against the Dayton Dutch Lions was included in this new book underneath The Legends section. That was German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel. Last April, The 37 year old Pfannenstiel took time off from his new Nambian club- Ramblers FC (yes, I said Nambian club) to play against the Dayton Dutch Lions.

Pflannenstiel played against the Dutch Lions for an All-Star side called Global United. Global United faced off against the Dutch Lions in the first game the Dayton club ever played (on April 30th); as the Dutch Lions smashed the aging All-Stars by a 3-1 scoreline. The scoreline may have been a surprise since the All-Stars lined up with former World Cup players- such as Marcelo Balboa, Thomas Dooley, Sunday Oliseh, and other stars such as Marco Etcheverry (all more well-known than Lutz). Needless to say, it had been a few years (for most of Global United) since their last proper training session or in the case of some a few buffet lines.

No worries.. Global United, started by the globetrotting Pfannenstiel, wasn't meant to conquer the footballing world but was intended to raise money for environmental awareness issues.

The following is the short profile on Pfannenstiel in the Cult Football book (above is a picture of the profile from the book):

Lutz Pfannenstiel
Globetrotting journeyman

Lutz Pfannenstiel almost became famous as "the man who stole the penguin." But he had second thoughts, and before anybody had noticed, he removed the penguin from his bath and delivered it back to the wildlife reserve in New Zealand, from where he had hijacked the poor animal the night before in one of his larger-than-life practical jokes. So, in the end, Lutz Pfannenstiel from a remote village in deepest Bavaria, became more justly famous as the only footballer to play professionally on all six continents. He is still trying to arrange a game in Antartica, so that continent can be added to the list - for the pedants.

In 1993, aged twenty, the goalkeeper received an offer from Bundesliga side Vfl Bochum. But they just wanted him for their reserve team and Pfannenstiel did not think of himself as a reserve-team keeper. So, rather than join Bochum, he accepted an offer from Penang FA in Malaysia. And so his globetrotting journey began. In the course of his career he played for Nottingham Forest in the UK, Orlando Pirates in South Africa, Sembawang Rangers in Singapore, Dunedin Technical in New Zealand, When he realized, fifteen years and some twenty-four moves later, that South America was the only inhabited continent where he hadn't been employed, he gave up a secure job at the Vancouver Whitecaps to join an obscure Brazilian side called Hermann Aichinger. Moving on had become a thrill for him - an obsession.

He was jailed (though his claims of innocence have some justification) for match-fixing in Singapore and is known as the man "who died three times for Bradford Park Road," after his heart stood still three times when he was knocked out by a furious tackle in a game against Harrogate Town. When annoucing that his career was over aged 36, in 2009, he said: "my career has not been better or worse than I imagined at 18, just different." A few weeks later, he signed for a team in Namibia.

My guess is Pfannenstiel was trying to save the penguin mentioned in this book. Since when I sat at a table the night before the Global United game with him, Wynton Rufer (the "New Zealand Johan Cruyff" as he said he was described, below), and Dutch Lion owner Mike Mossel; Pfannenstiel talked passionately about global issues.

New Zealander Wynton Rufer, best known for 174 caps and 54 goals and six titles for Werder Bremen. Another good story for the offseason is how I couldn't find him in the Cincinnati airport when I had to pick him up before the Dutch Lions vs. Global United game.

Here's some pictures of Pfannenstiel being peppered by the younger Dutch Lions back last April:

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