Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗
Belgrade (AFP) – The French women's basketball team took a big step towards the 2022 World Cup by dominating mali without shining 77-66 for their first match of the qualifying tournament on Thursday in Belgrade.
Les Bleues, bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, will get their ticket to australia, host country of the competition from September 22 to October 1, in the event of success on Friday against Nigeria, beaten by china (90 -76), since it is enough to finish in one of the first three places of the group to be part of the trip.
The accession to the final phase is therefore a priori only a simple formality for France, on paper largely superior to its three adversaries. But with three weight losses (Sandrine Gruda, Endy Miyem, Sarah Michel) and six players out of 12 not present at the Olympics, it is a group without too many benchmarks that landed in Serbia.
What complicates the task of new coach Jean-Aimé Toupane who is only living his second rally at the head of the Bleues since his appointment in October. All in his desire for renewal, the boss of the France team was able to measure the extent of the project, he who had started his mandate in November on a mixed note in qualifying for Euro-2023 with a rout in Ukraine ( 90-71) followed by a victory against Lithuania (83-56).
The French have thus been seriously jostled by the Malians who, however, only point to 40th position in the ranking of the International Federation (FIBA). Too many ball losses and a crying lack of aggressiveness, theoretically their trademark, made it easier for the Africans, only Iliana Rupert (13 points in total) at the start of the match, Mamignan Touré (14 points) and a crazy skill collective three points (51.9%) allowing the Blue to float.
Very quickly handicapped by faults, Rupert did not stay very long on the floor and France never really managed to get rid of his feverishness, causing the annoyance of Jean-Aimé Toupane, very up at the edge of the field throughout the game.
The return of the leader Olivia Epoupa, package for the Games through injury, was not very conclusive either (0 point, 7 ball losses).
“It takes time to put things in place, said Jean-Aimé Toupane. There are new players who lack experience. But the positive thing is that they haven't given up.”
“We have to manage to control the ball more, we are still happy to have won, the main thing is victory, even when it is not beautiful, explained Alexia Chartereau, promoted captain with the unavailability of Sandrine Gruda. This is how we will form a team. We have changed coaches, there are absences and new players, it takes time but we are not worried.”