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AFC Bournemouth: Buchel downed tools to try his luck in pro game
BENJI Buchel is the jack of all trades who is steadily mastering the art of goalkeeping.
The 24-year-old, who joined Cherries in August 2012, recently returned to action following a frustrating eight-month injury lay-off.
Buchel this week signed a one-month loan deal with Cherries’ non-league neighbours Poole Town and will continue his comeback in the Southern Premier League.
Born in Liechtenstein into a family of talented musicians, Buchel was taught to play a selection of instruments from a very early age.
But once he got the bug for football and had joined local club FC Ruggell, Buchel started planning for the future by embarking on a four-year apprenticeship as an electrician.
A move into the semi-professional ranks with Swiss lower league outfit USV Eschen/Mauren coincided with Buchel eventually qualifying as a fully-fledged sparkie.
However, after the opportunity to try his luck in England had presented itself, Buchel decided to down tools and focus his attentions on making the grade with Cherries.
Buchel, who lists his goalkeeping idols as Germany’s Oliver Kahn and Dutchman Edwin van der Sar, accepted an offer to join Cherries’ newly-formed development squad.
He told the Daily Echo: “I came for a trial under Paul Groves and was successful. I trained for a few days and played a friendly and they gave me a six-month contract to see how I would adapt to English football.
“Then, there was a change of coach and the manager gave me another six months so he must have been pleased with me. Everything was going well and I went on loan to Dorchester. I made a good start there but got injured.
“I had never before had any injury problems so was quite shocked because damaging your cruciate is a serious one. But although it was nasty and it took me a while to recover, I feel I have come through stronger for the experience.
“I earned another 12-month contract in the summer and am settled here. I know how they play and what they want from me as a goalkeeper.”
Capped by his country and already having featured in a couple of World Cup qualifiers, Buchel is keen to start challenging Liechtenstein number one Peter Jehle.
In his first 90-minute run-out since recovering from his injury, Buchel kept a clean sheet against a star-studded QPR team in a reserve friendly eight days ago.
Only the second Liechtensteiner to ply his trade in England after Franz Burgmeier at Darlington in 2008-09, Buchel will remain with Poole until January 18.
He added: “Before I came to England, I was semi-pro and worked as an electrician during the day. I spent four years learning my trade and combined it with training five or six times a week.
“I was the only member of my family who was interested in sport and everybody else was a musician. I still play but don’t want to say what I play because the lads would hammer me!
“My contract is up in the summer and I want to stay here, especially in England because it feels right. I came here, did well, got injured and haven’t played a lot since. I want to get my career going, play as many games as I can and go as high as I can.
“The loan with Poole will give me an opportunity to play some games. The development squad lads have got a couple of days off and there are no games over the festive period. I am fortunate Poole is so close and I can keep training here.”
Buchel, drafted in to replace Dan Thomas, is set to make his debut for Poole when they travel to Corby Town on Saturday (3pm). Sam Clarke is suspended, while Marvin Brooks returns.
Dolphins: (from) Buchel, Dibba, Spetch, Martin, Whisken, Pettefer, Davies, Devlin, Charles, Preston, Cann, Byerley, Elliott, Richardson, Lowes, Davis, Brooks.
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