Interview Sae Fontana (Switzerland)

How did you become a hockey player?

In Switzerland, most of the players start playing hockey because their parents used to play or a friend of them plays. That was the same for me. A friend took me with her to a hockey practice and I haven’t stopped since then!

Based on your experience, what are the main differences between 11-a-side hockey and Hockey5s?

Hockey5s is definitely a faster game, which makes it very intense as a player. Also, there are many more possibilities to score a goal, to get creative. The individual skills of each player are quite important, and there is more ball contact for each player since there are less players on the field of play.

What impact do you think an event like FIH Hockey5s Lausanne 2021 may have on the promotion of hockey in Switzerland?

Our main goal is to attract players to our hockey clubs all over Switzerland because our country is quite a small hockey nation. Indeed, we only have less than 2’000 hockey players and we want to double that until 2024. As early adopters of Hockey5s, we want to gain a competitive advantage, to get better rapidly, as a small country.

Have you ever played against India, England, Germany or South Africa?

I’ve played South Africa, but that was indoors. We actually went to South Africa for a test match series and they also came to Switzerland, so we have some cooperation going on. But I haven’t played the other teams and I’m really excited about playing some of the best teams and hopefully players of the world!

So, you will be discovering these teams. What do you expect?

I guess it will be quite exciting games! And also lots of new experiences on that high level for us, as we’re also quite a young team. We want to get on their speed and on their level of skills. Maybe not yet on their skills, but especially the speed. That’s going to be different.

What can these teams expect in Switzerland?

I hope this event will attract many people who have never watched our sport to come watch hockey. I think it will be a festival atmosphere there at the lake. The location is awesome!

What would you tell Swiss people to come watch the event, which, it’s important to note, will be free for the public?

I would tell them that it’s an attractive game, a more cool, urban style of hockey 11, I would say, and easier to understand because the rules are a bit easier. And also that the best teams of the world are going to be there!

What are the objectives of the Swiss team, for this event and also for this season?

We’re playing the European Championships in August and we want to achieve promotion to a higher league this year. We’ve tried a few times before and now it’s time to get promoted! And for this event, as I said, to play against nations which are mostly out of our reach, to get on their speed, to learn from them, to watch them play.

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