Swiss coach's wife in better condition
Coach Koebi Kuhn, who join the team late Monday, is happy and relieved that his wife condition has improved since she was admitted to hospital.4 June 2008
FEUSISBERG - Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn is "happy and relieved" his wife's condition has improved since she was admitted to a hospital.
The Swiss Football Association had said Alice Kuhn had an acute loss of consciousness after an epileptic fit and was admitted to a Zurich hospital.
But Kuhn, who arrived last for the national team's reunion late Monday, said he didn't want to go into details about his wife's illness, calling it a "private issue".
"I am very happy and relieved that my wife's diagnosis is positive and everything is under control," a visibly affected Kuhn said after Tuesday morning's training session.
Kuhn and his wife have been married for more than four decades.
The 64-year-old coach rejected one question as to whether he would delegate more team responsibilities to his assistants as a result of his wife's condition. He said he was pleased to be back with the team and was focused solely on preparations for the opening Euro 2008 match, against the Czech Republic on Saturday.
"I have worked with my mind, my stomach and all my heart for this team," said Kuhn, who will step down after the tournament to be replaced by outgoing Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "I will continue to do so until the last minute."
Meanwhile, Switzerland players were rallying behind their coach.
Veteran goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler said everyone was giving "100 percent support to Koebi Kuhn and 100 percent support to Mrs. Kuhn".
Midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta offered similar support.
"I hope she gets better," he said.
Team doctor Roland Grossen, however, hit out at what he called "false rumours" that were being spread in the media. He said the team would not be giving medical reports about the condition of Kuhn's wife and called for restraint ahead of the Czech game.
"We ask the media to respect the peace and intimacy of Mrs. Kuhn, and the coach," Grossen said.
Kuhn said it was important to field 11 fit players in the opening match, and added that he still had some doubts about a couple of players.
Barnetta, Switzerland's main creative force, returned to training Tuesday after two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury. But the 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen player was still practicing by himself and was only expected to join the rest of the squad on Wednesday.
"It's possible we'll have to be without him against Czech Republic," Kuhn said.
He said Patrick Mueller was also a doubt, even though the central defender has played for Switzerland in two friendly matches over the last two weeks. The Lyon player missed the entire season with knee injuries and is only now battling back to fitness.
Mueller "is an intelligent player, and even he has some doubts" about whether he will be ready to play, Kuhn said.
Kuhn said he was preparing for all possibilities.
"It's not yet time to pick the team for Saturday," Kuhn said. "There's still a few days left."
[AP / Expatica]