An eternity for Guillaume Gille. Since his appointment as coach of the France handball team in January after a failed Euro, Didier Dinart’s replacement had never been able to summon his players due to the health crisis. The course which began this Monday, November 2, at the Maison du handball in Créteil (Val-de-Marne), offers the perfect opportunity to meet, even if several members – Ludovic Fabregas, Yanis Lenne, Kentin Mahé, Wesley Pardin and Valentin Porte – had to decline the rally having tested positive for Covid-19, and that the qualifying matches for Euro 2022 against Belgium (scheduled for Thursday) and Greece (Sunday) have been postponed.
What is the objective of this internship?
GUILLAUME GILLE. First of all, to meet again. We had not seen each other since January, the wait was very long. The first great satisfaction yesterday (Monday) was for all to see blue jerseys on a field and balloons circulating. With the staff, we quickly felt a very good energy in this group.
With the restrictions linked to the health crisis, can we imagine that bringing everyone together should not have been easy?
Just the fact of having started this course is already a success! It took a lot of time and energy to create a health bubble. We had terrible, very strict and restrictive constraints. Some weren’t able to come, so the workforce looks a lot less like what we initially expected. Today we are all together. It’s like a marathon that ends well, even though our two scheduled games will be played later.
How did you feel when you learned of their postponement?
A little disappointment. We are top-level athletes, competition is the fuel that gives us the pace and keeps us going. This fact did not call into question anything. We very quickly switched to a different way of working. As with last minute positive cases, we had to adapt.
On a personal level, did you also share this disappointment?
There is bound to be a little frustration, but also acceptance. The context is nevertheless very particular. When you are appointed project manager in January and you only see your players on November 2, it is far from being what you imagined at the time… I took the opportunity to think about the best way to do to revive the dynamic of this team, so that it is intact for the next deadlines.
Exactly, what will be the objective of the next World Championships in Egypt in mid-January?
Beyond the quantified assessment, I want the France team to show another face, another attitude than the previous one. She must embody a new impetus. We are all in the desire to get to the level of the best. It is not pretension to say that this is where we are expected, and that is where we want to go.
It will nevertheless be without Nikola Karabatic …
Yes, this is very sad news. With what awaits us, his absence is inevitably a huge loss, because of his aura on and off the pitch. His serious injury will require a lot of courage and luck.
To conclude, are you a happy man?
Yes very. Despite the circumstances, I have a blast in what I do with everyone around me. I hope we can get back to competition soon. These moments when the France team finds itself facing an opponent are rare.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr