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28.10.2013, 11:28
France prepare for Golden League without Omeyer
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NEWS REPORT: Injury sustained in training puts the goalkeeping legend in doubt for the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark
 

France prepare for Golden League without Omeyer

France go into the inaugural edition of the Men's Golden League tournament, a four-nation encounter in which France will face Norway, Denmark and Croatia from 1 to 3 November, without their goalkeeper stalwart, Thierry Omeyer.

The 36-year, who would have celebrated his 37th birthday (2 November) at the tournament in Oslo, injured himself in the third week of October.

He has already undergone surgery but the recovery process is expected to be a lengthy one, assumed to be around three months, and might therefore lead all the way through to the Men's EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark that starts on 12 January.

"Towards the end of the training session I stopped a shot with only one arm and felt such a huge pain. I underwent an MRI and there is a torn ligament in my elbow," recalled Omeyer.

"I don't know if I'll be able to play at the EURO," he said. "But honestly, it looks very unlikely. I won't rush anything to be there, and everybody agrees with me on this point."

French head coach, Claude Onesta, reacted swiftly to Omeyer's absence and nominated Toulouse goalkeeper Wesley Pardin as replacement.

According to Onesta the nomination of the 23-year-old, who very much resembles former French international goalkeeper Daouda Karaboue, is "a step towards the future".

"He's 23, he has played in all the youth and junior french national teams, and it's good to bring him in just so he knows what top level handball is," Onesta said.

Pardin himself is taking it one thing at a time and does not want to rush anything. "I'm only 23, so to think about the EURO already would be pretentious.

"I've got nothing to lose going to the Golden League, if everything goes right and if the coach wants to bring to the EURO, then that would be huge honour."

France already shaping more than two months out of the EHF EURO

Onesta nominated a team of overall 23 players for the Golden League preparations, saying that he has already very much made up his mind which players will likely have the chance to be among the potential nominees for the EHF EURO 2014.

"This is a selection that looks more or less like the one we'll be bringing to Denmark. There is only one new player, and I guess there won't be much more in the future.

This is the second last meeting we've got before the competition, so we're entirely in the preparation phase now."

The new player Onesta is talking about is Benjamin Agfour.

The 23-year-old line player participates in the VELUX EHF Champions League with Dunkerque this season, but he does not take anything for granted.

"This is a giant step for me, it means Claude Onesta has got eyes on me, so it's always a good thing.

"But I know that this meeting is just the first phase and that it has to be the start of everything, not an accomplishment."

Out of these 23, Oneta will select 18 that actually make the team for the Golden League matches against Norway, Croatia and Denmark.

"It's really an impressive line-up," confirms Onesta. "All these teams will be in Denmark in January, and Norway gave us a hard time during the EURO Qualifications, so it will be the perfect occasion to know exactly where we're at and what we need to work on.

"But this will not be a definitive thing either, all teams will evolve before January."

To pass physical tests, Xavier Barachet, Saint Raphael's right back, and Timothey Nguessan, Chambery's left back, will also be making the trip for the team meeting in Paris even though they're injured, whereas Bertrand Gille celebrates his comeback after an one-and-a-half-year absence due to various injuries.

The French squad for the Golden League from 1 to 3 November

Goalkeepers: Wesley Pardin (Toulouse), Cyril Dumoulin (Chambery), Vincent Gérard (Dunkerque)

Line players: Benjamin Agfour (Dunkerque), Bertrand Gille (Chambery), Luka Karabatic (Aix), Igor Anic (Cesson-Rennes), Cedric Sorhaindo (Barcelone)

Back court players: Jerome Fernandez (Toulouse), Nikola Karabatic (Barcelona), Timothey Nguessan (Chambery), Xavier Barachet (Saint Raphaël), Daniel Narcisse (PSG), Mathieu Grébille (Montpellier), Kevynn Nyokas (Chambéry), Kentin Mahé (Hamburg), William Accambray (Montpellier)

Wingers: Valentin Porte (Toulouse), Luc Abalo (PSG), Michael Guigou (Montpellier), Guillaume Joli (Dunkerque), Samuel Honrubia (PSG)


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ts
 
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