To redress FC Nantes, Waldemar Kita decided to induct Raymond Domenech on the bench. A decade after his last experience, a quarter of a century after his last match in Ligue 1. To the point of wondering who will correct who, and especially if the former coach is an announced fiasco or a genius idea.
From Christian Gourcuff to Raymond Domenech. At first glance, Waldemar Kita attempted a dubious provocation. At worst, he is done hara-kiri in due form. Because in a short list coaches, the consultant of the channel L’Équipe ticks on paper all the boxes that should put it on the blacklist: playing philosophy far removed from the principles that made the best hours of FC Nantes, ten full years away from the benches professionals, and a last experience in the French elite more than a quarter of a century ago.
At the time, the championship was called the First Division, the Bosman ruling was not in force, France had not won any World Cup, and François Mitterrand was President of the French Republic. Since then, the Blues have suffered a strike under the helm of Emil Kostadinov, won two World Cups – and incidentally one more Euro – and five different presidents have occupied the Elysee. Two are no longer in this world, like the 2010 class of Les Bleus, buried by Raymond Domenech himself …
Domenech, resumption of activity at age 69
The job of club coach is time-consuming, multitasking, if not political – hello Thomas Tuchel – which will not fail to question Domenech’s ability to return to 69 years old, while preserving his physical health and mental. Especially since between 2010 and 2021, football France and its players have evolved as much as French society itself. Estelle Denis’ husband must not only fill a credibility deficit – inherited from his last two years as a coach – but also prove that unlike 2010, he can dialogue with his locker room. In all this, one might wonder if Waldemar Kita aspires to anything other than a simple snub towards the supporters and the media. Even a simple middle finger before letting FC Nantes go adrift.
On closer inspection, the idea of an announced fiasco is tangible, but the Nantes president’s bet is not without interest. On the media level, the leader offers himself a character who will be able to capture – as long as he remains in office – part of the media attention. If Domenech crashes within six months, Kita will at worst have made a wacky choice, at best he will have had the courage to revive a World Cup finalist. Even if some observers on social networks will claim that Domenech was only an assistant to Zinédine Zidane in 2006.
Who is the real Raymond Domenech?
The big question – which few people ask themselves when it is essential – remains to know the current level of competence of Domenech as a technician. Put aside the atypical image of the guy, we can think that the former coach of Olympique Lyonnais will be much more effective than his caricature was during his last years at the head of the Blues. At the time, he had been “eaten up” by the media dimension of the function, had locked himself in a character of provocateur that he could not assume as well as José Mourinho, and was no longer really a football coach. .
Except to think that Raymond Domenech has learned nothing that Knysna, and especially that he has not reflected, for 10 years, because of his lack of sporting rebound, we can anticipate that the Domenech of 2021 will be very different from that of 2010: calm, eager to prove that he is better than the image he built himself a decade ago, and probably anxious to leave the world of football with more dignity than he had left South Africa. Unless it is all a fantasy, that he continues to play with journalists rather than think about his offensive animation, that he asks for his partner again in marriage instead of debriefing a match … Raymond Domenech had known how to do it – by provocation – from its full-fledged press conferences. That of his enthronement will be one, because it will set the tone for his last challenge.By Nicolas Jucha