News and views from Stéphane Chapuisat
The only Swiss to have carried off victory on the pitch in the Champions League, Stéphane Chapuisat left behind only good memories for the supporters of the teams for which he played. Now a scout and trainer of young strikers for the Young Boys of Berne, he is nevertheless still very attached to his Lausanne friends.
While it was in Dortmund that he enjoyed his greatest successes, it was in Lausanne that he was born and made a name for himself. Approaching the age of 41, Stéphane Chapuisat no longer runs rings round defences in the Bundesliga, nor those in the Challenge League. As a trainer of U-18 and U-21 strikers for the Young Boys and a scout for the Bernese club, the man who gained 103 caps with the national team is enjoying his “retirement”.
Even though he no longer lives in Lausanne, Steph’ remains attached to his home town: “My wife and I live in Morat. It was a kind of compromise, since she comes from Berne. But I come back on a regular basis to play with the seniors of ES Malley.”
“In Lausanne, I feel at ease”
With his father being a footballer, the young Stéphane did not spend his entire childhood in the area around La Pontaise. Four years were spent in Zurich, from 1976 to 1980, when his dad, Gabet, played in the colours of FC Zurich. Then it was back to Lausanne. To Les Bancels to be exact, a few metres from the Olympic Stadium. “I did my junior classes in this stadium,” he says. “I was in the dressing room in five minutes.”
Playing for the Lausanne-Sports first team by the age of eighteen, Steph’ swore by football alone: “I went to secondary school and then did an apprenticeship, but soccer came before everything. Outings? There was nothing much in those days, we went down to Saint-François now and again. Anyway, being in the first team, I didn’t go out much. You had to make sacrifices.”
And the sacrifices paid off in the long run. After a brief stint with Bayer Uerdingen, Chapuisat was noticed by Borussia Dortmund. Over there, immortalised as Chappi, he is still remembered by supporters in the Westfalenstadion.
A tournament in his name
When living abroad, Steph’ was struck by one thing: “The quality of life in Switzerland is beyond compare. We live in a fantastic country. The number of things to do at weekends is incredible. In winter you can go skiing. In summer you can soak up the sun and swim in Bellerive.” But what makes the former LS striker feel close to his town is first and foremost the people: “I’m near to the people I love here. My family and friends are here. I feel at ease. I know I’ll always have a bond with this place.”
On 20 June, Stéphane Chapuisat will be at Bois-Gentil to supervise the junior tournament that is named after him. It is an event close to his heart: “The most important thing is to bring something to these youngsters. In my days there was a junior D tournament. We are thinking about ways of developing this tournament. One thing for certain is that motivation varies a great deal at this age. A youngster can be full of enthusiasm one minute then have no motivation whatsoever a year down the line. It’s up to us to give them back their thirst for the game.”
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