The Swiss play Friday in Sicily a crucial meeting with a view to a direct qualification for the World Cup 2023. The former captain of the Nati, now « Team Manager », takes stock.
Friday in Palermo (17 h 30), the Nati are playing a very important match against Italy, which could open the doors to the 2023 World Cup in Australia and in New Zealand. The Genevoise Caroline Abbé, who retired from sport after the title of Servette Chênois last season, officiates until the end of the year as « Team Manager« of the Nati. The former international with 127 selections talks with us about this new function and the shock against the Transalpines.
– Caroline Abbé, this summer you were appointed « Team Manager« through intérim from the Swiss team. What is your part?
– I organize training camps, whether in Switzerland or abroad. I also manage the logistics for hotels, training grounds and all the accommodations that come with this kind of gathering. I try to do everything to make the team feel the best in the national team.
– How is the relationship with the players, who were previously, for the most part, your teammates?
– I didn’t know how they and I would react to my new cap. Even if I am not really their superior, I have another role, I am part of the staff. And I admit that I dreaded it a little. But in the end everything went very well and I like this new job. The players were happy to see me again. It is also an advantage for me to know them and to know what their needs were. It’s like I never left the national team.
– What state of mind is the group in before this shock?
– The group is very motivated. It is not yet a decisive meeting, but it remains very important. We play against the favorites of the group, at home, and I feel a great desire to achieve a big performance. This would allow us to approach the return matches of these qualifiers with serenity. The team is ready.
– Italy are favorites, but is there really a big difference between the two selections?
– Our team has grown a lotpin recent years. But Italy too. It has better infrastructure at the level of its championships. Moreover, all the players play in the country, which can represent an advantage in terms of automatisms. As regards the Nati, many play abroad, in various European championships. I will say that Italy is very slightly favorite.
– How has the Swiss team progressed a lot lately??
– At the level of defensive stability. We don’t take a lot of goals. But our strength remains our offensive assets. We have very good players up front. We may have a hard time realizing our opportunities, but we create a lot, and this is the most important. All it takes is a little click, and the machine is started.
– And on your side, do you not miss the ground too much?
– No, when I retired from sports, it was time to quit. But I won’t hide from you that when Servette played in front of 12,000 people (Editor’s note: against Chelsea at the Stade de Genève in the Champions League), vshas done something to me. This match, I would have liked to play it, if only for the spectators. The last two seasons that I played were marked by the Covid, so we didn’t have a lot of fans. However, no, I will not come out of my sports retirement.
– You were professional when you were in Germany (from 2011 to 2017) then, when you came back to Switzerland, you had to start working in parallel again. How do you deal with this situation?
– For me, It’s just a quesiton of habit. I have always played soccer and worked alongside it. All those who do vshave known this reality since they finished school. We’re ready for that. But of course I felt the difference when I was in the Bundesliga, without needing to work. TO my return, it took me a few months to get back into the rhythm. But we get used to it. Hoping things change.
– Does it take the path?
– In Switzerland, more and more resources are being put into the development of women’s football, so that, in the long term, female footballers can live solely on vsTo. VSprogresses step by step. Since my return to the country, I have already seen a certain evolution, more matches are broadcast and more sponsors invest. But the change will not happen overnight.