SoccerWe need to entertain Soldier Shaqiri
The playmaker will finish his season with Chicago in mid-October. What will he do in the five weeks that separate him from the World Cup in Qatar?
There are many questions we can ask about Xherdan Shaqiri. Everything is a matter of interest. For the little ones, let’s say between 5 and 8 years old, this existential question undoubtedly arises: how do you become one of the record players in the history of the Swiss team? In order to find an answer, children may want to immerse themselves in the picture book “Hop Schweiz”, which the Swiss Football Association presented in Bad Ragaz (SG) on Wednesday.
Appears in German and French, appears in bookstores on Thursday and is aimed at the youngest audience of the Swiss team. There he will find various stories and information about football and the Swiss women’s and men’s teams, beautifully staged, as well as their various sponsors, more or less subtly placed (Credit Suisse, the main partner of the ASF, financed the operation for the most part).
Not enough to really satisfy the interest of the most loyal (and slightly more experienced) followers. Do you still have a question about the national team’s playmaker: Will he be able to travel to the next World Cup in good form? And that’s another story, told a little less romantically. Because Xherdan Shaqiri and his club Chicago Fire will end their season in Major League Soccer on October 9th. In fact, the Illinois formation will not qualify for the playoffs.
Find the right solution
Shaqiri will not have an official meeting between October 9th and November 24th, when Switzerland enters the World Cup against Cameroon. Simply, to sharpen it, the friendly match against Ghana will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 17th. And in Chicago the curtains are drawn. For the people of Basel it is therefore important to find another solution by Monday, November 14th, the date of the rally and the official departure of the national team to Qatar.
Xherdan Shaqiri, who turns 31 on October 10, is not worried. “Don’t worry, I’m in top shape for the World Cup,” he promised on Wednesday. I’ve had a big year and haven’t had a vacation yet, so maybe I’ll take it easy for a few days.” And then? “There won’t be any problems, we’ll find a good solution.”
Which type? There are concerns on the part of the national team staff. “We have to assess the situation,” admits national team director Pierluigi Tami. We have to plan targeted and individual training with him: he won’t be able to stay at home for five weeks. It is therefore an issue that the staff are working on: we must give him the best chances to prepare as well as possible. Therefore, various options are being explored.
Lugano will not be enough
Among them is the practice track with Lugano, Chicago’s sister club, as it is owned by the same owner, Italian-American Joe Mansueto. With his inner limit: he won’t be able to play in the Super League there because he’s still under contract with the American club. “It wouldn’t be enough just to follow Lugano’s training, because at the club we always train match-related,” emphasizes Tami. So he can train with a club, but we also have to think about individual support.
National team staff, including their fitness coach Oliver Riedwyl, are expected to be on deck well before 14 November. For Shaqiri’s sake. And the nation?
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