Swiss defender recalled after Olympic Twitter row
Expelled from the London Olympics for writing an offensive
Twitter message, defender Michel Morganella was given a second
chance by Switzerland on Thursday.
The 23-year-old center half was selected in coach Ottmar
Hitzfeld’s squad of 22 to play Greece in a friendly in Athens next
”I was very surprised and happy,” Morganella said, adding he
hoped to justify his recall by ”showing I have learned from my
errors committed at the Olympic Games.”
Last July, the Swiss Olympic team said Morganella ”insulted and
violated the dignity” of South Korean people in a comment he made
after losing a match between the two sides.
”Now it’s up to me to prove to Ottmar Hitzfeld that he was
right to pick me,” he said in an interview published by the Swiss
Football Association on its website.
Hitzfeld said that Morganella ”deserves” his reprieve.
”He has been punished by being excluded from all Swiss Football
Association activities,” the veteran coach said. ”But now, the
moment has come to offer him another chance.”
Morganella, who plays for Italian club Palermo, made his senior
debut for Switzerland last May.
He was in the starting lineup at the Olympics, and received a
yellow card when the Swiss lost its second match 2-1 against South
Korea in Coventry.
Morganella tweeted in French slang that insulted South Korean
people and suggested they ”can go burn.”
He quickly apologized, deleted the account and was sent home by
Swiss team leaders who also offered their apologies to South Korean
Morganella said he also sought to make amends on returning to
”I asked for forgiveness from the coach, the management and the
team, and assured them that such mistakes wouldn’t be repeated,”
he said, acknowledging stress he placed on his family. ”But they
also knew that such behavior wasn’t really me and kept faith in
Morganella, whose selection helped keep Fulham defender Philippe
Senderos out of the squad, returns to a national team which leads
its World Cup qualifying group after playing four of its 10
Switzerland plays Greece to prepare for a March 23 qualifier in
Meanwhile, Hitzfeld gave a first call-up to 20-year-old Novara
forward Haris Seferovic, the latest member of Switzerland’s
Under-17 World Cup-winning team of 2009 to graduate to the senior