Bernard Challandes: I work with vigor and greatly enjoy living among Armenians

Bernard Challandes
Bernard Challandes

Photo: Mediamax

Bernard Challandes has been the head coach of the Armenian national team for over half a year. Under the Swiss coach’s management, Armenia lost once (Denmark) and tied once (Serbia) in Euro 2016 qualifying. Portugal vs. Armenia match will take place on November 14. Armenian footballers will complete the year with this match.

Mediamax Sport talked to Challandes who recounted about his work, dreams he has for the Armenian national and the journalist who had interpreted his views in a wrong way and then apologized for that.

- Mr. Challandes, two weeks remain for the Armenia vs. Portugal game in Euro 2016 qualifying. What kind of match is awaiting us?

- A great match awaits us. At the first match of the qualifying Portugal played without Ronaldo and lost to Albania. This team plays differently with and without Ronaldo. Of course, the Portuguese will attempt to score a victory in their own country but this match will be a challenge for us. Any result can be registered in this qualifying group. There is no a team which plays better or is obviously stronger than the rest.

I believe each team has a chance to win. It refers to us as well - the Armenian team has played well against Denmark and Serbia and now has a very good opportunity to show itself. Portugal is perhaps the favorite of the match but we can win or tie them, play a good game and create problems for the rival.

Bernard Challandes
Photo: Mediamax

This match will be our last this year. Afterwards, we will analyze everything and get ready for the second part of the qualification match.

- Our national team has played with losses in the previous two matches. Several key players were not playing because of injuries. Are they already back? What hopes do you have for them?

-Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Yura Movsisyan, Gevorg Ghazaryan and Hrayr Mkoyan will play in the upcoming match. They are critical and key players in the national team. These players can bring much into this team and along with the rest, ensure the national’s good performance.

-Yura Movsisyan is already back in the field and was a substitute in two matches. Is he in good shape?

-Movsisyan’s presence in the team is highly important. He played for a few minutes in the match against Rubin yesterday. He is gradually getting into shape. Two weeks remain for the match against Portugal and I hope he will be ready and will be able to play the entire match. I always talk to Movsisyan and the coaches of his team. He himself is also eager to play in the national team. I am glad to have a footballer like Movsisyan in my team. We watch all players every week and are well aware of what shape they are in. Without fail, we make notes of who has played and for how minutes. In case of injuries, our physiotherapist contacts the footballer or a relevant expert of his team for clarifications.

- Mr. Challandes, you have been in Armenia for over half a year. What have you done so far?

- I enjoy my work. I watch the national championship, work with national teams of all ages, academy teams as well as new coaches.

Bernard Challandes
Photo: Mediamax

I feel attached to the Armenian national with all my heart. I love my work over the top, I always watch the championship. I have left for Iran, Kazakhstan and Macedonia and have watched Armenian footballers play.

-Recently, “Le Matin” Swiss daily presented an interview in which you had compared the Armenian national to the 4th division of Switzerland.

- Such a thing has never happened. They got me wrong. This is how it actually was. It happened so that back in April we were present at Banants-Gandzasar Cup Match with two representatives of the French national who were in Armenia then. The French did not want to watch the match until the end saying it resembles the match of the 5th league of France. After that, in an interview a Swiss journalist asked me about the level of the Armenian championship. I remembered and told that story. I also noted that the level of the 5th division of France equals to the 3rd division of Switzerland. The journalist did not get me right and had attributed it to the Armenian national team. I work with the guys in my team and I love them very much. Am I crazy to make such a comparison? They have played well in matches against Serbia and Denmark and I have thanked them for it. We have been close to victory and I simply could not express such an opinion over a team that has played such matches.

After reading the interview, I promptly contacted the Swiss journalist and the latter apologized for having got me wrong and changed the interview. This journalist has also officially sent a letter of apology to me and the Football Federation of Armenia.

- What chances does our team have in the European Championship in France in 2016?

- I have not just signed an agreement with the Football Federation of Armenia. I am here to struggle along with the team for a “ticket” to that championship. Together we will make it. These players are capable of overcoming the qualification match obstacles. The Armenian national championship is not the best in the world – the results of the Champions League and the Europa League prove it. But serious work is being done and gradually, certain progress is observed.

I have been here for seven months. Over this time I have been studying Armenian football. I watch the videos of past year matches. I work with vigor and I enjoy living among Armenians.

- Do you like living and working in Armenia?

Bernard Challandes
Photo: Mediamax

- I want to stay here longer and along with the Federation to have my own contribution to the development of Armenian football. I was pleasantly surprised to reveal Armenia for me and I adapted easier than expected. There were very nice fans in the stadium rooting for the team in matches against Serbia and Denmark. It’s highly important for us. They would be happier had we won the match, however, they supported the national really well.

It’s my cherished dream to have the Armenian team play in the championship in France. It’s the best team I have trained. Of course, as a coach I have been at the Champions League and the Europa League, have played against Real Madrid, have played in the Europa League with the youth nationals but if I manage to go there with the Armenian national team, it will be the greatest event in my life. We commit every effort to fulfill this dream.

Gohar Nalbandyan and Hasmik Babayan talked to Bernard Challandes


Dear visitors, You can place your opinion on the material using your Facebook account. Please, be polite and follow our simple rules: you are not allowed to make off - topic comments, place advertisements, use abusive and filthy language. The editorial staff reserves the right to moderate and delete comments in case of breach of the rules.

Editor’s choice