Ze Vitor warms to Swiss challenge PDF Print E-mail

Two goals on Saturday boost midfielder’s confidence

Ze VitorSt. Gallen’s new Portuguese recruit Ze Vitor feels that his brace in the victory at Grasshoppers on Saturday has given him new confidence to help what has been a difficult adaptation to Swiss football.

The 26-year-old made the switch from Nacional to the Espenmoos Stadium in January, but despite the presence of former Sporting midfielder Krassimir Balakov as manager, acclimatising to his new surroundings has not been easy for Ze Vitor.

“It was pleasing to score the goals (St. Gallen won 3-2) because the adaptation has not been easy and these goals give me belief. I haven’t become a better or worse player, but it’s nice to help the team.”

“Balakov (a former Bulgaria international who spent four years with Sporting from 1991-95) speaks good Portuguese and he’s helped me. There is also a Brazilian team-mate, Fernando, who is giving me tips. Outside that, I can communicate in English.”

A club with just two national championships to its name – the most recent coming in 2000 – St. Gallen is one of the less familiar clubs in Switzerland, but having once been home to names such as Marco Tardelli and Ivan Zamorano, the team’s history has surprised Ze Vitor somewhat, while the fans have also made an impression on the Portuguese.

“They told me that Zamorano had played here. I did some investigating and found some big names,” he said. “The fans follow the team to every ground. Against Grasshoppers there were more of our fans. It’s a special club to play for.”

Special fans

“I’ve already met some of the other Portuguese that play in Switzerland. They wished me good luck. When we played at Basel they invited me back to their home for dinner. They are amazing.”

Ze Vitor and St. Gallen’s immediate focus is on avoiding a relegation playoff, which includes the bottom two sides in the 10-team league. Currently in 9th but within just a point of 6th place Sion, the midfielder aims to help his side out of their position.

“We are in ninth, with the same amount of points as the team in 8th. I am going to try to help the team climb the table and avoid a playoff place. With the group we have we deserve more.”

26 March 2008, by Lorna Danion

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