Buckley backing the Germans
Delron Buckley (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Delron Buckley has tipped Germany to win the FIFA World Cup currently underway in Brazil.
Buckley, acquainted with some of the players in the German national squad wished the team viel gluck (good luck) in their quest to end their World Cup jinx.
"I think this is their year to finally win it," Buckley said ahead of Germany's clash against USA on Thursday.
"They have come so close over the years, only to fall short in the semis or the final.
"All of that experience will work in their favour because they will have learnt from their mistakes in the past."
The Germans would be aiming to end a 24-year drought and clinch their fourth World Cup title, having won in 1954, 1974 and 1990.
In the last three tournaments, Germany came agonisingly close to lifting the trophy, finishing runners-up to Brazil in Japan in 2002, third as the host nation in 2006 and third again in South Africa's 2010 tournament.
Buckley, who spent 19 years playing for various clubs in the Bundesliga, believed Spain's exit from this year's tournament, and Brazil's unconvincing displays to date, would benefit the Germans.
He expected the Netherlands, Italy and Argentina to put up a fight but felt Germany would overcome them because of their teamwork principle.
"What stands out about Germany is that they play as a team. During matches all the players contribute equally to the cause.
"They are not about star players and don't rely on a single individual to get them over the mountain. The Germans are very disciplined and dedicated people."
Buckley's most significant spell in Germany was with eight-time Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund. The 36-year-old was with the club from 2005-2009 where he played with and against some of the current crop of players in the German national squad.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and defenders Matts Hummels, Kevin Grosskreutz and Erik Durm were his former colleagues at Dortmund.
Despite being in awe of those youngsters, Buckley had been most impressed by the ageless Miroslav Klose in the German team.
"Klose is my age (36) and has shown that experience is important in a team.
"In their last match against Ghana, he came in and scored the equaliser. He has shown how important he is to the team even at his age."
After making his return to South Africa last year, Buckley was recruited by then coach Ernst Middendorp to play a season for Maritzburg United in their last Premiership campaign.
However, he was now without a club after current Maritzburg coach Steve Komphela told him he was not part of his plans.
Despite the uncertainty in his football career, Buckley, who lived in Durban with his German wife and three daughters, remained dedicated to his craft.
"Every day at 08:00 you'll find me at the gym.
"I have a personal trainer whom I work with to keep my fitness up and make sure that I'm well conditioned at all times," he said.
Should he not receive a call from any of the PSL clubs, Buckley said he would pursue a coaching licence in Europe.