Qatar 2022: to prepare in ‘realistic conditions’, the national squad will train in Anniviers
Guaranteed sunshine, ideal temperatures, the Swiss national football team are going to spend a month in the valley to get acclimatised before next year’s Football World Cup.
Head coach Vladimir Petkovic was in a determined mood in front of the assembled press pack this Tuesday. However, his opening remarks gave no hint of any real optimism on his part. ‘The Euros are a complete shambles - plane tickets, hotels, game plan - we’re totally in the dark’, he conceded straightaway. ‘This summer, it’s likely that we’ll be returning to Switzerland very quickly. In any case, we’re assuming that the cafés and pubs will still be closed and no-one will be able to watch our matches’.
The national coach is seemingly ready to concede defeat at the Euros, but only because he has a bigger vision, one that’s ‘unstoppable’. ‘We’re going to win the World Cup. I’m sure of it’, he stated forcefully, before setting out his action plan to sweep the national side to global football glory. ‘We’re going to start training in Anniviers in mid-July so we can adapt to the local micro-climate. This will allow us to train in conditions that are as close as we can get to those we’ll encounter in Qatar’.
With the sun beating down relentlessly all day, ‘Petko’ wants to spur his men onto almost superhuman exertions. ‘In Anniviers, they’re really lucky with the weather and I’m sure the players won’t take long to realise it’.
Nowhere to play, but opponents to face all the same
The only fly in the ointment for now is the absence of a standard-size football pitch in the valley. However, the coach doesn’t appear overly worried. ‘There are a few bumps and rocks on Mission FC’s old ground, but that’ll make the team really work their legs’, he said. Petkovic has also a team-building exercise in mind. ‘We’re going to renovate the snack bar – it’s been in a pretty bad way since the Navizence flooded’.
After having sweated blood and tears, the 23-man squad will face their ‘first real test’ against a Val d’Anniviers select side. ‘We’re familiar with their technical ability and robust style of play’, declared Vladimir Petkovic. ‘I’ve heard all about Bozza’s leadership skills, Coco’s grit and young Nathan’s ball-handling.’ It’s a fixture that already feels more like a final than anything else. ‘We’re going to go all the way’, the coach predicted.