19 January 2017
For the last Group A match of the French team, on Thursday (17:45) in Nantes’ Hall XXL, Didier Dinart will face Talant Dujshebaev’s Poland, the handball legend who changed his game and been a huge influence in Dinart’s choice to pursue coaching.
At the final whistle, their handshake will be worth seeing. It should be one full of respectful. Face to face for France vs Poland with nothing at stake, Didier Dinart, the French coach and Talant Dujshebaev, of Poland, will be a reunion not only old colleagues but of handball friends. “He is a reference for me,” says the coach of the Experts. “I continue to consult him, we exchange a lot of ideas.”
Both men began this strong connection in Ciudad Real, 190 kilometres south of Madrid, where the French player played between 2003 and 2012. The Kyrgyz, who was naturalised Spanish in 1995, was taking his first steps as a coach. “He is a gentleman who allowed me to analyse and completely change my game, at the age of 29,” remembers Dinard. “Thanks to him, I have learned a lot as a player, but also on the structuring of my training.”
The French team, which has often built it successes around the “defensive science” of its Guadeloupean coach, can, therefore, thank the 48-year-old Talant Dujshebaev. The former IHF World Player of the Year (1994, 1996), who left for Kielce, in Poland, after the Spanish club’s bankruptcy in July 2013, has always followed his student, which he considers as “the best defender in handball’s history.” He saw him evolving in his role of coach, up until being the main man for the French team. “He has done a good job as a co-trainer in recent years and now I wish him all the best,” said Dujshebaev this week. “I know he really likes me and I have a lot of respect for him.”
“Talant has a volcanic temper, but only when he has to have one…”
On the bench, however, the strong personality of the Frenchman does not equal the “prickly nature” of Dujshebaev. “I get angry sometimes, but Gino (Guillaume Gille) tries to calm me down,” smiles the former defender. Talant has a volcanic temper, but only when he has to have one. On the field, he is able to get as angry as possible with you, but it is because he gives you a lot of love outside. The main thing that matters to him is that we are a family.”
This approach, which is found in the French team also – i.e. the two coaches are very close to the experienced players, who assume the role of ‘big brothers’ with the young players – has proven itself with Talant. “This gave us the opportunity to do unlikely things,” says Dinart. “Like the Champions League final when we won by five goals away in Kiel, after losing by two at home. He’s able to push you a lot.” That 2007/08 season, Ciudad Real had won everything, reigning over Europe and achieving a quadruple in Spain. To honour his mentor, Dinart knows a win in Paris, on 29 January is needed, Dujshebaev doesn’t doubt it for a second.