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Interview de Seb Picard, joueur de la Sélection Occitane (pour les anglophones) 

Non-FIFA Interview by Marco Calapez July: Sébastian Picard, Football player of Occitania team (A.O.F)

In this edition of the ’non-FIFA Interview’ I’ve had the big pleasure to talk for the first team with a football player, Sébastian Picard. that was present in the 2009 edition of the NF-Board’s VIVA World Cup. Picard is a midfielder/winger with 27 years old and since 1994 plays football in French regional league teams (7th to 10th tier of the French football pyramid) having passed by clubs like FC Roussillon (1994-98), FC Cerdagne (1998-2002), FC Thuir (2002-03), FC Sorede (2003-04) and from 2004 playing for FC Argeles, currently in the Division d’Honneur Regional (7th level).

First of all, thank you very much for having conceded us this interview and it’s a honnour to me to interview for the first time a football player.

Hello Sébastian, First of all, thank you very much for having conceded us this interview and it’s a honnour to me to interview for the first time a football player. Before you join Occitania team how much did you knew about the team and the competitions they were involved? SP: Well, i knew about the existence of the team of Occitania through a player of the selection team, Alexis Beaude, during a lunch we made and he explained me the project that is being conducted by the AOF (Association Occitane DE Football) and i really liked it. Then, i called to the team coach Didier Amiel that i already knew through his son, Jordan, which was with me in the Sport-Etude football in Font-Romeu

Has you probably know there’s another NF-Board team that overlaps Occitania "territory", which is Provence. What do you think about it, is it positive or negative? SP: Personally, i don’t agree with the existence of the team from Provence, simply because Provence is completely part of the Occitania

That feeling about the Provence team is apparently generalized among the Occitania team members, it was already mentioned by Piere Costa in the past. A match between Occitania and Provence was a possible match in the VIVA World Cup. How would you have reacted if you had to play against Provence (e.g. in the semi-finals)? SP: Effectively, if we would have to play against Provence, I think that we would have had a supplementary motivation to beat this team which,i believe, we would have wide chances to beat.

About the VIVA World Cup You have been in the latest edition of the tournament played a few days ago in Padania, was this your first tournament for Occitania team? SP: Yes, efectively it was my first major tournament with the national team of Occitania

Did the tournament fullfiled your expectations? SP: Yes, my expectations were completely filled. I never expected that. I have felt like the professional players (photos, reknown stadiums, journalists, televisions, etc..)

How is the environment between the teams and how you evaluate the level of the organization? SP: During the competitions, there was little contact between the teams. All the teams were there to win this VIVA World Cup. At the organization level, there’s not much things to say, apart from the matches that were very close to each others that made us to become really tired and lose some efficiency.

From the football point of view, before the tournament, did you expected a better result from Occitania team? SP: Our objective was to be at least the 2nd placed in our group in order to reach a place in the semi-finals.

But you didn’t make it, so how do you evaluate your team’s performance (2 losses against the finalists and a 2-1 win against Gozo)? SP: Before the first match against Padania all the group was solid and fit, we made a great match, but unfortunately we conceded a goal 7 minutes before the end of the match. In the second match against Kurdistan we lost 4-0 and there isn’t much to say, the majority of our players were too tired due to the match in the day before. Finally, the match against Gozo that we won 2-1 but with playing a good match, but well, it was out first ever victory in the World Cup.

It’s always a remark. You played against both finalists, Padania and Kurdistan, Is Padania really too strong compared to the other teams (they won 2 tournaments in 2)? SP: Yes, effectiely, Padania was the most solid team, particularly with the former professional players (Maurizio Ganz and Gianpietro Piovani), but I recognize that Kurdistan had a beautiful style of play.

Sebastian Picard (right) with Padanian player Cresta (left) Nowadays the tournament is contested by players coming from the regional levels of "FIFA countries". In your opinion, why it happens? That’s a FA choise or the players from top leagues are not interested to be involved in this? SP: Personally, i think it’s good, because even the amateur players can represent their nation, I am proud to represent "L’Occitania". At the AOF level, the politics make that the nation is represented by amateur, furthermore, I don’t think that the professional players would be released by their clubs to play for countries not recognized by FIFA.

Do you think the tournament can develop and in the future be played by players coming from higher leagues (even professional players)? SP: I don’t know the politics of the NF-Board but i do not expect all the selection teams to be represented by professional players.

Now talking a little bit about the future. Do you know if Occitania is planning to be present in Gozo next year? If so, are you available to be part of the team one more time? SP: Well, it does not belong to me to answer to that question. It belongs to my president Peire Costa. But what I can say to you is that we are a small nation with little means, thus, he is going to need to raise money to finance the next big competition. If I will be selected, effectively, i would do everything i can to go there but it’s necessary that everyone knows that we are amateur players, we have our jobs, and it’s hard to be released one week to play football.

And about your football career. What are your objectives? Do you plan to play one day in one of the top division clubs in Europe? SP: To play at the highest level is too late (I am 27 years old), furthermore, I am far from having the skills to play at that level. I am aware of by capacities. At the moment, my objective is to represent this beautiful nation of Occitania with pride and honor for the longest time possible. OSCA OCCITANIA.



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