Antoine Kombouaré, an extraordinary metronome at the baton of FC Nantes

French Cup

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The Nantes coach faces OGC Nice this Saturday in the Coupe de France final. The native of New Caledonia makes an impression with his audacious choices, his intimidating aura and his impalpable personality.

This decision, we are inclined to think that it does not resemble him. The Nantes coach, Antoine Kombouaré, decided to align his titular goalkeeper, Alban Lafont, on Saturday against OGC Nice in Saint-Denis in the final of the Coupe de France (9 p.m. on France 2), to the detriment of his replacing Remy Descamps. Which has however played all the Cup matches and paved the course of the Canaries with notorious performances: four games without a goal conceded plus a snatch in the half at AS Monaco on penalties (2-2, 4 to 2 on penalties) . And if a great elder now deceased ever described to us “the coaching job like a slutty job”, we thought Kombouaré less likely than a lot of others to take responsibility for what he knows, better than anyone else, to be injustice. We know players excluded from a Cup final who have not recovered.

Going around Kombouaré is a long and hectic journey. For twenty years spent at the highest level as a player (FC Nantes, Paris-SG, Aberdeen in Scotland) or coach (Valenciennes, Paris-SG, Lens, Guingamp), he has been through everything. With a way of his own. One day in February 2015, some Lensois players refused to wear the “Je suis Charlie” t-shirt imposed by the League (and the circumstances): “Antoine was prodigious, says a witness. He argued on all sides, the guys did not know where they lived. With the key to a way out of the crisis of which Kombouaré has the secret, like the te…

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