- The laying of the Handball Federation announced the replacement of Didier Dinart by Guillaume Gille at the head of the French team
- The boss of the federation and his DTN appeared dejected and sorry to have to part with their coach
- A "drama" that reminds us how little handball is used to periods of crisis
Tuesday morning, at the handball house, two men face the press. Joël Delplanque, head of the federation, and Philippe Bana, the DTN. A glance to the left, to the right, we look around the room. Nothing.
No Didier Dinart. The atmosphere is tense, the cathedral silence. Delplanque plants the first banner in a serious, almost theatrical tone: "the premature elimination of
the French team at the Euro, I personally experienced it badly and even felt it as a real shock. "
Worst performance of the men's team since 1978, we have known better to complete a term as president, which we already know will not be reappointed. The guy is so up that he plans his trip to Tunisia on the sidelines of the CAN to receive the group shamefully eliminated after only two games in Norway. At the time, it was a question of taking stock, seeing what was wrong with the team, with the staff, sticking two or three slaps and then going back to snatch the qualification for the 2020 Olympics all together , Didier Dinart included. The ouster of the coach, Philippe Bana did not want to hear about it.
"Didier's tension had led him to isolate himself"
Two weeks later, here we are, however: the coach is thanked and his assistant, Guillaume Gille, appointed in his place. Faced with the routs of the female and male team "the state of emergency" is decreed by the boss of the Fed. Obviously, the two jokes give the impression of doing too much, as in every (rare) crisis of French handball. Falling on an empty fridge when you live in opulence, it is shocking, of course. The emotion and the dejection are none the less sincere. For three major reasons.
- The worst may be yet to come for this team (real risk of missing the 2020 Olympics)
- Guillaume Gille has not even two months to wake up this team
- Firing a coach is unnatural for the FFH
Little step back in time, 15 years back. Claude Onesta is not yet the living legend that we know, and even struggles to take over from Daniel Costantini. 6th place at Euro 2002, third place at the 2003 Worlds and a quarter at the 2004 Olympics put him in a delicate position at the dawn of the 2005 World Cup. "I don't know what his future would have been if we couldn't finish on the podium (3rd), ”Jackson Richardson told us in 2015. Some say he was fired. Philipe Bana swore the opposite five years ago: "We were not going to fire him, refutes Philippe Bana, the DTN. But the real danger was not with the institution, it was with his group. He’s the one who decides whether the merger goes or not. In 2020, the group therefore decided, after many interviews between players, staff and layers of the federation, to cut off the head of the king. Bana, in the present.
“We identified a real interpersonal suffering with the athletes that showed crumbling. I found real heartbreak, a break in ties because Didier's tension had led him to isolate himself, and that we were not able to get him out of this almost conflicting spiral. This loss of meaning and connection, we found it by talking to everyone, but it raised the question of the break of a sacred link. Was this team capable of taking up the Olympic challenge in this state of fracturing, of doubt? "
To last, Guillaume Gille must take France to Tokyo
Faced with the obvious, action was needed. What the FFH is resigned to do a little unnatural, as reminded us the supported tribute of DTN to the now ex-coach ("this relational break does not detract from what Didier Dinart, one of greatest coaches of this sport ”) and the first words of Gille, on the verge of apologizing for having been appointed coach of the Experts. "My state of mind is relatively ambiguous because first of all I have a thought for Didier who is in a delicate situation. To make Didier Dinart's failure of this euro is absurd. "
To avoid another painful break and yet another drama, Joël Delplanque refused to register Guillaume Gille for the long term. He even intimately linked his future at the helm of the Blues to the result of the team during the TQO (17-19 April against Croatia, Tunisia and Portugal). "We will take stock the next day," says Delplanque. If he misses, Dinart’s former assistant will be the one who failed to qualify the men's handball team for the Olympic Games and we can hardly imagine surviving such a disaster. In addition to having been, as he recalls, a stakeholder in the previous sinking. "I participated in this failure, I worked on it, I planted myself too. Two boats sunk in three months, that would not give a damn for a captain. Almost as much as firing two coaches in such a short time for a federation deemed loyal. The joys of a sport in crisis.