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End of the UNFP internship / France / UNFP /

In Lisses, in Essonne, the UNFP has assembled a team of players without a contract for five weeks to help them in their preparation. A training course which ended this Wednesday with a final meeting against US Orléans. The opportunity for this group, which has become a family, to show itself in front of potential recruiters and try to finish in apotheosis.


11:30 a.m. The halls of the Espace Léonard de Vinci are no longer crowded as much as last month. At the UNFP course, the workforce has shrunk, but that’s for the best, because here, as during the sales, everything must go. This year, the players present managed to find clubs more quickly than usual. A pride for the director Pascal Bollini. “Usually, we finish on August 5, there I don’t know how we would have done. We only have 15 outfield players out of 22 at the start. For tonight, we are short of defenders. » On this closing day of the course, the group must play its seventh prep match against Orléans. So inevitably, the pre-match routine dictates the tempo of the day.

Memories memories

After the early morning muscle awakening, the group has a heavy heart. “Frankly, we are all sad to leave because we get along really well, never a tension” , poses Over Mandanda as he enters the hotel lobby. But everyone must stay focused for the meeting of the day. The last opportunity for them to show themselves. “It’s true that if they have nothing in two or three days, it will start to get hot” , confirms goalkeeper coach Jean-Marc Branger. Arrived during the internship, Baptiste Valette knows it well. Since the end of his contract in Nancy, the doorman has had a few touches, but he preferred to ensure the blow by asking FC Sète, the club of his city, to train with the group from next week. “In any case, if a player calls me to ask my opinion on the camp, I will advise him directlyhe assures. It’s really great, the coach is still the coach of Côte d’Ivoire, it’s not nothing. »

Her name ? Patrice Beaumelle. “The only one who refuses offers here” according to Phillipe Rossi, in charge of video and communication. “I have requests, but I want to take my time choosing the right project. First, I wanted to end here. I think we all have a sense of accomplishment.” , judges the coach by asking all the players and managers he meets to sign his UNFP jersey. A memory of this beautiful month of July. For the players disappointed to leave Essonne, the mental trainer Thomas Aupic has prepared a small gift: a family photo for each of them, signed and commented on by all the friends.

“Anyway, you have put a human touch that we no longer have in clubs. It did me a lot of good because in this high-level football, sometimes I don’t find myself there, because it lacks humanity.Patrice Beaumelle, UNFP FC coach

Good grade, clown and werewolves

Once the meal has been engulfed in the right atmosphere, the group is invited to go to the meeting room for the chat. The coach’s motto: finish on a good note and correct what was wrong with the 4-2 defeat in Nîmes. “All the teams that beat us, they didn’t show anything better than us. So tonight, no mistakes guys, and be careful, National 1, it’s going to be stamped » , he warns. The goalkeeper Sacha Bastien is then consulted for the instructions on the stopped phases: leave space for aerial exits or not; which players for the wall on free kicks, etc. “Anyway, you put a human touch that we no longer have in clubsadds Beaumelle when thanking everyone. It did me a lot of good because in this high-level football, sometimes I don’t find myself there, because it lacks humanity. »

The chat ends in laughter when we watch the video of Calvin Bombo, “the clown of the course” , thrown into the hotel swimming pool by all his colleagues. Then comes the time to head for the bus towards Orleans for the troop. On the way, we calmly enjoy the last hours together. “It’s a course that has taught us all a lot. There was a lot of experience sharing from oldersays Alexis Martial, while the passengers nose dive. I think we will keep in touch on our Whatsapp group. We’ve done a lot of werewolves, so why not try online. »

Block and burst of pride

Once there, the dry grass of the Jacques Mazucca stadium in Saran – which will also be fatal to Thomas Fontaine – worries during the recognition of the ground. Everyone is however delighted to find friends in the camp opposite. Quentin Bena also wishes his friend from Orleans Adrian Dabasse to score, “but don’t worry, we’ll put two behind you” . In the locker room, the physiotherapists massage those who wish while Patrice Beaumelle displays the tactical instructions on set pieces in the showers, for lack of anything better. Informed that Abdou Ndiaye will take the penalties tonight, Mana Dembélé laughs: “Abdou, you’re very nice, but I’ve been waiting for him since the start of the course, if there’s a problem, it’s for me. » On the staff side, we insist on the fact that the Orléanais are not as advanced in their preparation, they who do not resume the championship until mid-August. After the warm-up, Patrice Beaumelle shouts his instructions: “What I want to see is bouldering! Compact, grouped, guys. »

From the start, his words seem to have been heard. Launched on his side, Alexis Martial even believes to offer a decisive pass when his center finds the head of Ihsan Sacko, alone at the far post, but the crossbar pushes back. Pocket midfielder Gaëtan Arib and his friend Calvin Bombo are doing well in the heart of the game until a loss of ball, tainted by a non-whistled foul, costs them the opener against the run of play. “There you go, I told youthrows Quentin Bena from the bench to his teammates, who were already predicting a victory. We always start strong, you are on fire. » Upset by his mistake, Arib redeems himself by equalizing from outside the right before the break. Despite the encouragement of his partners, he does not celebrate, and the announcer therefore fails by announcing Delvin Ndinga scorer. “It’s good for your stats, at your age” the chamber Patrice Beaumelle before the referee whistled for half-time.

Good bye and good luck

In the locker room, the UNFP fulminates by dominating without leading. Matthieu Dossevi wants to give instructions, but the coach silences everyone. “Guys, there’s no point in talking. We are silent for two minutes, we breathe and we drink. » The ex-Ivorian is waiting for the last three minutes to remind the fundamentals of his busy group chewing on orange wedges, just to avoid a slack. “20 seconds in the center circle making triangles is no. » The second act is even better thanks to the entry of Ibrahim Mandefu, who restores the advantage to his people. On the field, the team is calm. Calvin Bombo even places a sombrero to eliminate an opponent. “He’s going to talk about it all evening, therelaughs Gaëtan Arib on the bench. Don’t sit next to him on the bus. » But repeated refereeing errors end up annoying. “Sir, there is no offside on six meters” , reminds Mickaël Panos to the touch referee after an unjustified whistle. With only ten minutes left to play, Orléans came back, then won 3-2 in the 89the minute. Tempers flare slightly when one of the USO players sends Lamine Ghezali off, and the game ends, with a hint of bitterness.

“Guys, I liked it, really I liked it! But just in return, I know you’re going out. Don’t make too much noise when you get home tomorrow morning.Pascal Bollini, internship director

In the showers, frustration predominates. “We would have liked to finish well … We give the three goals, I am angry” , grumbles Mana Dembélé. But the defeat is quickly digested, because it is time to say goodbye. “Guys good luck, we’ll find it” , the players encourage each other by clapping their hands. As the coach discusses on the ground with spectators, the group decides to debrief directly on the lawn, chicken or tuna sandwiches in hand. No lengthy speeches, Beaumelle prefers to let the director Pascal Bollini conclude the course, not without a touch of emotion. “Guys, I liked it, really I liked it! Keep it up because the clubs are still fetching, and you know you all have at least an easy hour in your legs, so go for ithe swings, suppressing a sob. But just in return, I know you’re going out. Don’t make too much noise when you get home tomorrow morning. » The word of the end is well sprinkled with blows of “Bob! Boo! » and water bottles emptied on the leader in joy. The UNFP spirit to the end.

By Gabriel Joly, in Saran



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