The Ivorian striker from Servette is looking for a second wind after a promising start. He explains himself for the arrival of Sint-Gall, this Saturday at 8.30 pm.
It’s his style. Chris Bédia arrives silently, with a grin, disarming of course. We just ask him how are you? The eye lights up: You’d swear he hesitates between a good joke, a dash of humor sprinkled with irony, and then he picks up again, grimacing while still smiling. “How are you?” he asked aloud. I don’t know, let’s just say I’ve had a little slack lately…”
Chris Bédia doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s true, his first appearances in the Servetian jersey were so promising. We had there at the same time a powerful and fast attacker, who could weigh and surprise a defence, who could also play with his back to goal. And then it all got a little blunt. He knows. He even knows why.
The reasons for the slack
“No preparation, few games played in the first part of the season before I came here, the Covid the first week of my arrival in Geneva, an injury in March: yes, I kind of know why there was so little slack. You can training, it’s very good, but nothing replaces the rhythm of a match, it’s not the same. And even if it started very well with Servette, I knew that I would probably pay for all that. Besides, Gaël (Editor’s Note: Clichy) warn me. He told me it would be complicated to continue the momentum of my debut here given all that, the lack of rhythm, the Covid, the injury…”
His first test is here. Chris Bédia is 26 years old, great potential but he must digest this winter transfer to become the vital goalscorer Servette desperately needs. This end of the championship is there to enable him to put everything back in its proper place for next season. Easy to accept?
“No, but I don’t have a choice,” he notes. It annoys me not to score. Sometimes it can get obsessive and I know it’s not right. In fact, you should always think about the team first, before you think about yourself. Gael pointed this out to me. He told me: if you want something too much, it won’t happen. Of course it has to happen. He is right.”
The Importance of Clichy
Yet Gaël Clichy is central to the reflection. A monster of professionalism, the 36-year-old Frenchman, who returns on Saturday evening in La Praille against Saint-Gall, is the example for everyone to follow. Both young and experienced. This week, as Clichy returned to the group after an illness that weakened him, has been one of daily involvement. With the agreement of Alain Geiger of course, Clichy took several teammates, several times with the Cherpines at the end of the training, for a master class: meticulous placement, clear explanations, corrections during the exercise. He frames, he surrounds, he corrects, he stimulates. The man is a trainer in the making, that’s for sure.
Bédia is aware of his chance to meet him. “Gaël Clichy, he has everything more than anyone, he cuts. Look at his positioning: he almost never makes a mistake in his positioning, he anticipates everything and he does it all without thinking, with his experience. It is valuable to do these exercises with him at the end of training, because that is exactly what will happen during the competition. In fact, he does prevention.”
Sometimes Clichy also raises the tone. Whether his tirade is pushed here in these columns or on the field, it does not change the aim, and Chris Bédia, like all Servettiens, understood it too. It’s just a matter of demands, nothing else. “Yes, he yells a lot, Bédia laughs, but it’s normal, it’s part of the game, we need it! It wakes us up when necessary, it gives us a boost. And so it is very, very good.”
Good in the group
Back to Chris Bedia. Always a bit ironic. “It’s always better to smile than to sulk, no,” he exclaims. It’s actually a pretty good sign that I’m like this: it means I feel good in this group. That’s why I chat a little bit, I connect my teammates a little bit, I joke with them sometimes. I think it’s also good for the collective.”
And on an individual level? What are Chris Bédia’s goals? “I have some very specific personal goals,” he said. But I don’t like to talk about it. So let’s say I want to be decisive for Servette: score or score, I don’t care, I want Servette to win. I want to be satisfied with my performance. And I know it’s the performance of the team as a whole that will enable me to get the individual rewards I’m aiming for.
See you Saturday evening, with this Servette – Saint-Gall, to see Bédia at work.