Canaries loanee missing football during lockdown at his family home in Paris
- Credit: Norwich City FC
Norwich City loanee Melvin Sitti is using board games to get his competitive kicks during football’s suspension in France - as he admits watching old matches has proved too frustrating.
The 20-year-old midfielder signed for City on a permanent deal in January, signing a contact until 2024 but remaining with Sochaux for the remainder of the Ligue 2 campaign.
Sitti is at home with his mother and sister in Paris during the coronavirus lockdown, which is currently scheduled to remain in place until May 11 in France, where the death toll is just under 20,000 so far in the battle to combat the spread of the pandemic.
Football was put on hold in early March but governing body the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said on Friday it still intends to complete the season, with respected newspaper L’Equipe reporting that the LFP intend to restart in June with the target of concluding all games before the end of July so that next season can commence in late August.
Sochaux and Sitti are meandering in mid-table with 10 games of the Ligue 2 season still to play, in 14th place, eight points clear of relegation trouble.
Catching up with fans in a light-hearted Q&A on the Sochaux website, Sitti was asked how he was keeping busy and said: “Board games! I stocked up just before confinement - zero defeats as we speak!
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“I watch Vikings. Otherwise I’m looking for new manga (Japanese cartoons), if someone can help me? I also watch a lot of news to keep myself informed.
“The reruns of old games, I can’t do it any more: we want new games!
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“We have physical challenges every day as a team, given by Antoine (Helterlin, physio). We earn points and there is a ranking - but don’t count on me to reveal who is winning.”
The defensive midfielder has been capped at under-20 level by France and is due to join Norwich at the end of this season - although when that will be remains unclear.
He added: “It is the first time that it has lasted so long but it allows us to know why we are there and the chance to do this job. You can’t live without it.”
Sochaux’s last game was a 2-0 loss at high-flying Clermont on March 6, with Sitti playing the full 90 minutes as he made his 17th appearance of the season.
Asked for a message to supporters, he concluded: “Play board games and above all win: we don’t want losers among the Sochalians!
“To be more serious, stay at home and take care of your family because it is most important.”