Chambéry – MHB: the time Patrice Canayer almost missed the Champions League final in 2003 for a Clasico

Chambéry – MHB: the time Patrice Canayer almost missed the Champions League final in 2003 for a Clasico

Patrice Canayer and the MHB are going to Chambéry this Tuesday. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART

On the occasion of his 40th and last Clasico of the French championship in Chambéry this Tuesday April 16 (8 p.m.), the future ex-MHB coach Patrice Canayer recounts his best and worst memories of the duels against "rough people" of Savoy.

A title won in 2003…

"The match that will always stay in my memory is the one we played in Chambéry in 2003 three days after the victory in the second leg of the Coupe d& rsquo;Europe that we win in Montpellier. It was a decisive match for the French championship and I had even considered skipping the return final (in the first leg, Montpellier lost 19-27 before winning 31-19 on the return).

Before Pamplona we went green at La Grande-Motte, after the victory we went to the Place de la Comédie to celebrate with the supporters. And then we returned to La Grande-Motte and the next day we left for Chambéry. I remember a statement from Philippe Gardent in the press saying: “We're going to offer them a bouquet of flowers and then we're going to crash into them”. We won the match and I made the players play a lot with little playing time during the European Cup final.

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It’was a very beautiful moment because there was the sequence of these two matches… The first you win the European Cup as an outsider and win three days later in Chambéry for the title of champion of France… There are many other memories but this one is the best by far. The team I had is one of the biggest in terms of quality of competitors. I found the habits remarkable because it was not simple."

… and one lost in 2002

"Perhaps in 2002 because it was when we had a fairly hegemonic situation in handball, Chambéry had a very, very good team with Narcisse in particular. I don't know if it was us who lost the title, or Chambéry who won, but oh well. Behind that, we rebuilt the team and came away with five consecutive titles. But I don't have any other bad memories."

The force of Chambéry

"They’s mountain people huh. It’s Savoy, they’re rough people. They have always been teams of real competitors, like the Gille brothers for example. They were always teams with guys who wet their jerseys. Chambéry embodies the Savoyard identity well, so when you defend this jersey, you are supported by a great audience. It’s a great club that has had different teams but we see consistency at the highest level."

His place in France

"Historically, they are one of the three or four major teams of the last 30 years which have been dominant in French handball. They were unlucky, they came across a time when Montpellier was ultra-dominant. If we hadn't been there maybe they would have dominated French handball at that time. There are Paris, Montpellier, Nantes and Chambéry over the last 30 years. It must be said that Chambéry was still a pioneer with its Phare hall, it was still a team that played at the ice rink in Albertville. It’s a club that I respect a lot."

Panic returns

Facing the Chambéry of Erick Mathé, his former assistant and future replacement next season, Patrice Canayer and his men have no right to make mistakes. they want to hope to get second place, if they beat Nantes on May 17 and the latter make a misstep. For this match in Savoie, Marko Panic returns after his chickenpox.

The group: Bolzinger, Desbonnet.Karlsson, Simonet, Pellas, Fernandez, A.Lenne, Skube, Prat, Konan, Panic, Monte , (cap.) Porte, Y.Lenne, Berthier, Nacinovic.

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