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08.04.2013, 16:29
After the qualification the next challenge for France already looms
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With the ticket for the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark already secured, France's head coach is planning to use the upcoming months in the best way possible for preparation
 

After the qualification the next challenge for France already looms

With a double victory against Norway in rounds three and four of the Men's EHF EURO 2014 qualification, France have already secured their place at the final tournament in Denmark.

Now that the first goal has been achieved, French head coach Claude Onesta is looking at the final two qualification matches in June (away against Lithuania and at home against Turkey) as a way to prepare his squad for the future.

"These two games and the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey, at the end of June are coming at the end of a very busy season, with the Olympics last summer and the World Championship in January," Onesta said to French TV outlet, Canal+.

"We will probably put some fresh blood in the team and give some rest to some of the oldies," he added with a smile on his face.

In an interview with website, sports.fr, he furthermore said: "We've identified some dates when we will start working on what the future team will be.

"The Mediterranean Games will be one of them, the first stage of the Golden League (new men's tournament involving France, Denmark, Russia, and Norway) in November as well.

"But I won't go into these competitions with a completely new team either."

However, Claude Onesta already started his team's rejunevation process last week in the matches against Norway, even though he was forced to do so to a certain extent.

With Didier Dinart and Daouda Karaboué now retired, Xavier Barachet and Michael Guigou injured, and Samuel Honrubia suspended, Onesta gave two young players their first international match: goalkeeper Vincent Gérard and left wing Hugo Descat.

He also gave a lot of playing time to Kevynn Nyokas, Chambéry's right back, who, despite a first difficult game in Norway, put himself together and scored seven goals in the second leg in Nancy.

"Kevynn showed all the potential we know he has, we just have to control him, restrain him a little bit.

"It was a good game for him even though you can sense that there's a fine line between being good and bad with him. You've got to tame the mad horse," Onesta, tongue-in-cheek, said after the match to le10sport.com.

Some other players that might appear at the Mediterranean Games in June might also look familiar.

There is hardly any doubt that Valentin Porte and Thimothey Nguessan will take part in those Games.

Mathieu Grébille was in the squad for the games against Norway, but didn't make it to the court, having just recovered from a knee injury.

Kentin Mahé was supposed to be there as well, but he had to pull out with a hamstring injury.

There are some players that are being mentioned several times and that are likely to appear in summer wearing the blue, white and red jersey.

Namely Benjamin Agfour, the line player from Dunkerque, or Quentin Minel, who's just been elected 'Player of the Month' in February in the French league.

But as Claude Onesta puts it, it's not all about the new faces.

Some players that have not had a chance in the national team for a long time, might be given a new opportunity in order to show what they are capable of.

For example Arnaud Bingo, who had not been part of the national team at any major game for the last couple of years.

He benefited of Honrubia's and Guigou's absences to make the most of his time on the ground, proving that the coach can still count on him.

The same can be said about Igor Anic, already 26, but who has just been integrated into France team and still has a lot to prove.


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ts
 
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