An “Experts” duo in charge of the France team


28 September 2016

During a press conference which took place on Wednesday in Paris, the French Handball Federation announced that Claude Onesta would taking a step back from the court, in a new general manager role, while Guillaume Gille will join the staff and form a double-header on the bench with Didier Dinart.

This is a step further into the progressive renewment of the French national handball team staff. During a press conference set up this wednesday morning at the French National Olympic Comitee (CNOSF), the head of the French Handball Federation, Joël Delplanque, announced “an important evolution which will little by little move Claude Onesta away from the court, but not from his responsabilities, which will remain unchanged. In the meantime, Guillaume Gille will be introduced by the side of Didier Dinart.”

“Regardless of the work Didier will execute under Claude’s authority, Guillaume will also, gradually, fill the shoes of Alain Quintallet as physical coach carried on Joël Delplanque. This is not a revolution, but still a pretty strong evolution, an inflexion, of which we hope that it’ll be successful at the 2017 Men’s World Championship”. This new organisition is already effective : Claude Onesta is now France’s general manager, while Didier Dinart and Guillaume Gille both share the coaching duties.

“Didier and Guillaume know perfectly the problematics of a competition”

“My will to step away from the court isn’t a recent one, it’s a process we’ve worked on since a couple of competitions explained Claude Onesta. A some points, I was even wondering what I was still doing on the bench. Today, we feel the need to go even further (…). We worked out that the national team coach job has evolved a lot since the day I started, on a mediatic and popular scale. The job outfit has now become heavier to wear for a single person”. The idea now is to share duties and responsabilities.

Didier Dinart’s gradual introduction in the French staff over the past couple of years was already a step in that direction. The aim, now, is to give him, along with Guillaume Gille, the chance to lead the team in order to communicate their experience of high-level handball. “It is obvious that Didier and Guillaume aren’t the most experienced coaches admits Claude Onesta, but they know perfectly the problematics of an important competition. They are qualified to talk about the preparation, the organisation and the management of a team at such a high-level. It is precisely what’s so important in a national team coach job.”

A plan that’s meant to last

For now, it hasn’t been defined yet how the new France team coaching duo will work. “By nature, when you’re part of something that hasn’t been tried and tested, it is hard to guarantee its form and, of course, its result notes Claude Onesta. But it’s not something we’re pulling out of our hat, it’s a system that’s already in place in other sports”. The France team players have already had an insight of this new stage during their summer reunion in La Toussuire, before the Olympics, when Guillaume Gille joined the squad for a few days.

The ambition of the Frence federation is to set this system for the next couple of years. “Our wish, no matter what the future competitions are, is to make this system last for as long as possible says the national  handball director, Philippe Bana. We will all work very hard in the next three months so our momentum can last for another fifteen years”. Keeping in mind that, of course, results will validate, or not, this new organisation. “We will make the counts after the World Championships, as we always do after a major competition, and we will then decide what will become of this system” concludes Joël Delplanque. Sixteen years after the victorious ride of 2001, in which they had taken part as players, Didier Dinart and Guillaume will have the joy to pop their duo’s cherry at a home World Championship…

Picture : S.Pillaud/FFHandball