France

French coach hopeful despite training boycott ahead of next match against hosts South Africa

Reuters

French coach Raymond Domenech has condemned the French players’ refusal to train in protest at Nicolas Anelka's expulsion from the World Cup squad. He said he fully supported the decision taken by the French football federation (FFF) to banish the Chelsea player for an outburst at half time during a France – Mexico match.

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"First of all I would like to say that the sanction against Nicolas Anelka is justified. I support the federation in this decision," Domenech told reporters in Bloemfontein ahead of Tuesday's clash with South Africa.

"Nobody can behave in such a way in the dressing room or elsewhere and high-level sportsmen and women have to lead by example through football."

Domenech was appearing alone at the team's pre-match press conference, despite the custom usually requring the presence of the captain.

He said that he spent 45 minutes trying to convince the players of the “absurdity” and “stupidity” of their decision to boycott training.

He added that the reputation of the French squad hinged on their next match against the hosts South Africa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot said the nation felt "great indignation" at the implosion of the squad and said she was currently holding crisis talks with the players and the coach.

 

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