Nicknames are part of football culture in Brazil, a country where names like Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento), Zico (Arthur Antunes Coimbra) and Garrincha (Manoel Francisco dos Santos) were born. One player who wants to live up to his nickname in the coming weeks at Brazil 2019 is the Haitian captain Fredler Christophe, whose Soubriquet from Bijou (jewel) reflects his precious quality on the ball.
“Absolutely everybody calls me that. Anyone. But I like it, “Christophe smiled at FIFA.com. “My father gave me the name when I was a kid because he thought I was a good footballer and he’s stuck since then.”
The nickname has remained for the simple reason that he did it justice. Christophe is a fast and talented attacking midfielder who has just signed up for the French club RC Strasbourg and was part of the senior squad in Haiti who reached the semi-finals of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Many people talk about him, and I follow his progress exactly,” said Herve Bazile, winger of Haiti, Christoph’s role model in the domestic scene. “He’s a very talented player, like so many others in this U-17 team, but it’s true that this competition is expected to be a bit more of him, let’s hope he has a good tournament and Haiti so far He is full of confidence. “
Christophe also has the confidence of his coach Miguel Perdomo, who has made him his skipper: “Bijou is a key player with some special qualities. He is left-legged but can play right and left. He is also very fast and he is a very influential figure in the team when it comes to games and training. “
This amount of praise and expectation could unsettle a 17-year-old who is about to attend his first World Cup, but not Bijou: “Yes, the pressure is there, but it does not bother me,” he said. “It’s just part of my job, in fact, the pressure motivates me more than burdening me.”
As these words show, this is a 17-year-old man with a maturity beyond his years, who has already become a familiar face on his home island: “Yes, people are starting to recognize me and I am signing more and more autographs,” said he took everything with him. “I’m flattered, but it’s like pressure, it’s all part of the job.”
As for Brazil in 2019, Bijou will play on 27 October, when Les Grenadiers will play the Korea Republic in the opening match in Goiania. This is the first game in Group C, in which also France and Chile are represented.
Christophe, however, is not worried about what lies ahead of him: “Everyone sees Haiti as a small country, but that does not bother us, we’re here because we’re one of the 24 leading nations in the world, and we have the same ambition as everyone else others: to take the trophy home. “
While Haiti is not expected to leave Brazil with the trophy in hand, the Caribbean nation can at least be proud to have a very special jewel in its ranks.
About Fredler Christophe:
Height: 5’4 (1.62m)
Date and place of birth: 11 January 2002, Leogane (Haiti)
Position: Right/left midfield
Shirt number: 11
Club: RC Strasbourg
Favourite club: Barcelona
Favourite player: Kylian Mbappe
His dream: To turn professional
His other passion: Flying