France squad selected for home tournament
Olivier Krumbholz, France's head coach, has announced the squad selected to take part in the Golden League tournament in France from 20 to 23 March.
After the team's ninth place finish at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia, Krumbholz has not changed much in the squad.
20 players were called up, with only one of them never having taken part in a national team training camp.
Besides the absences of Raphael Tervel and Katty Piejos, who have retired from international handball, Krumbholz has also decided to leave Linda Pradel at home.
The new arrival in the squad is Laura Lewille, who plays on the right wing at Mios. Returning to the team are Issy-Paris goalkeeper Armelle Attingré, Stéphanie Daudé from Le Havre, Gnonsiane Niombla from Fleury les Aubrais, and Sabrina Ciavatti-Boukili, who plays at Mios alongside Lewille.
A surprising exclusion from the squad is Marine Houette, who was recently elected player of the month in the French league after her good form with Fleury les Aubrais.
The Golden League tournament will mark the comeback of Amandine Leynaud, who recently transferred from Valcea to Skopje, and who has been absent for nearly nine months following a knee injury.
This competition will be the last one of the Golden League series and a special one too, as France will be playing at home. One of the girls returning to the squad, Armelle Attingré, spoke to eurohandball.com ahead of the event.
eurohandball.com: After a long time without playing for the French team (Attingré was out with a hamstring injury for one year), you are going to be back for the Golden League. At the moment, how are you feeling?
Armelle Attingré: Firstly, I would say that I see this as a reward for all the hard work I've done to come back to my top level.
Following my injury, the daily-life was not so easy and playing with the French squad once again is a kind of reward for me. Of course, I am also very happy. When I received my notification, I felt delighted, but this come back is not an end.
eurohandball.com: You will come back into a team, in which there have been some conflicts, especially when Mariama Signate criticised Krumbholz's way of working. What is your point of view?
Armelle Attingré: I left the team a long time ago so I don't know if she is right or wrong. But, as far as I'm concerned, if I had any problems I would not say anything to the media first.
I think the real problem is whether the whole group thinks like Signate or not. If they do, the main issue is that nobody agreed with Mariama or supported her when she declared what she thought.
In this case, this problem should be internal to the team. But if they don't agree, it will be a problem for Signate herself because she has put herself into a difficult position.
eurohandball.com: What do you think about the French team's results during the Olympics and the EHF EURO 2012? Does the French squad have a lack of maturity?
Armelle Attingré: Actually, I would not say France has a lack of maturity. All those girls have played together for a long time now and even the girls who have been in the squad for a long time are still young.
They have the top-level experience, but I think the squad can't stand the stress. How could we explain France won the last Golden League but had such poor results in Serbia?
I don't know, but I believe our main opponent is ourselves. With the group we have and if we are in good shape, we can beat anybody.
eurohandball.com: You are going to play the Golden League with three other goalkeepers. How do you feel about it?
Armelle Attingré: I will go to this event happy and full of desire. I will try to do my best and play the best handball I can, then we will see.
France squad for the Golden League in France, 20-23 March:
Goalkeepers: Laura Glauser (Metz), Armelle Attingre (Issy Paris), Amandine Leynaud (Skopje), Cléopâtre Darleux (Viborg)
Court players: Blandine Dancette (Nîmes), Nina Kanto (Metz), Camille Ayglon (Nîmes), Stéphanie Daude (Le Havre), Allison Pineau (Valcea), Claudine Mendy (Podgorica), Paule Baudoin (Metz), Gnonsiane Niombla (Fleury),Sabrina Ciavatti-Boukili (Mios), Marie-Paule Gnabouyou (Toulon), Audrey Bruneau (Besançon), Siraba Dembélé (Randers), Julie Goiorani (Toulon), Laure Lewille (Mios), Mariama Signate (Issy Paris), Alexandra Lacrabère (Zvezda Zvenigorod).
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor