Faustine Robert, joueuse du MHSC féminin. Midi Libre – JEAN MICHEL MART
Le footballeur nîmois Ngakoutou. Midi Libre – ALEXIS BETHUNE
Les joueurs du MHSC football. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART
Les joueurs de l'Usam Nîmes en handball. Midi Libre – ALEXIS BETHUNE
Le Frontignan Thau handball en Proligue.
Jan Serfontein et le MHR. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON
Le RAF en Ligue 2 de football. MAXPPP – JL BORIES
L'ASBH en Pro D2 de rugby. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH
Les basketteuses du BLMA. Midi Libre – Michael Esdourrubailh
Valentin Porte et les handballeurs du MHB. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON
Ils ont vécu des fortunes diverses au cours de la première partie de la saison 2023-2024. Après avoir tourné la page 2023, voici ce que la rédaction des sports de Midi Libre espère pour ces clubs durant cette fin de saison.
Nîmes Olympique: finding a soul
The time is serious. Relegated to National at the break, Nîmes Olympique risks a third descent in four seasons. The Crocos must maintain themselves to save the club's professional status. Above all, they must find a soul and supporters, lost over the management errors (sporting and human) of President Rani Assaf. In the Gard prefecture, many (and “many” is an understatement…) are hoping for his departure and a sale. In any case, he's already a bit gone: he hasn't attended a match of his team at the stadium for 7 and a half months.
MHSC: first maintenance
After a complicated first part of the season on and off the field, in which Montpellier finished in 12th place with only four points ahead of the Toulouse play-off, obtaining maintenance will be the first priority for Michel Der Zakarian's men. As much as the Montpellier residents attack 2024 with six players selected in the African and Asian Nations Cup but also injured. With a full squad, the MHSC has ample means to keep its place in Ligue 1 and why not have a good run in the Coupe de France.
RAF: the right to dream
Like the little beast, Rodez Aveyron football goes up, up… In search of remaining in Ligue 2 for the fifth consecutive season, the Aveyron club has the right to dream of better. After having withstood the turbulence of the controversial meeting in Bordeaux and the attack on Lucas Buades by a Girondin supporter in June 2023, the RAF is now in 9th place, four points from 5th, the last one giving entitlement to the playoffs of accession to the elite. A dream within reach ? In the meantime, the second part of the season, the Ruthenois are pursuing another, inscribed in the DNA « blood and gold », the Coupe de France. Quarter-finalists last season, Didier Santini's players are still in the race this season. Will they offer a new adventure ? All dreams are allowed.
Women's MHSC: the first square to believe in Europe
The Montpellier team let valuable points slip away at the start of the season, outside their base, as in Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux. The good news is that they have regained their effectiveness at home and that they will host these teams in the return matches. But it will have to perform especially against direct opponents who, like the MHSC, are aiming for a place in the first four: Lyon, Paris FC and PSG seem above; there will be a fight for 4th place with Reims and Fleury, and Le Havre which Montpellier (5th) beat before the break. A wish, then: to demonstrate more offensive realism to escape from the restricted field of D1.
MHR: maintenance and Challenge
Since its rise to the elite in 2003, Montpellier Hérault Rugby has never been in such a bad position. If there is still the entire return phase, the MHR is dead last in the Top 14. On paper, the Hérault squad is nevertheless plethoric. And to think that eighteen months ago, he lifted the Shield of Brennus…
In 2021, Montpellier residents also experienced a similar situation, certainly less delicate. They got through it thanks to an end to the season and a cannonball, rewarded with an improbable European Challenge in May. If history repeats itself, we sign immediately.
ASBH: final phases in the viewfinder, or even more ?
Five wins in a row, second overall, best offense in Pro D2… Everything is right in Béziers! Finally, the hopes placed in this team result in an ambitious season.
Pierre Caillet, at the head of this team since 2021, has managed to make this group a steamroller that no one expected to come. With a pack of forwards again conquering in the zones of conquest – as the ASBH heritage dictates – and three-quarters full of gas guided by the Portuguese winger Raffaele Costa-Storti (13 tries , top scorer in the championship), Béziers has become a serious candidate for the final stages. Halfway through the championship, the Biterrois can even dream of madness in 2024. What if, next year, we were entitled to a Hérault derby ? The dream is crazy. But there are many steps to take. And far from being acquired.
MHB: Champions League objective
Despite significant injuries (Yanis Lenne, Stas Skube, Ahmed Hesham and recently Kyllian Villeminot), Montpellier is still in the race to secure a place in the 8th final of the Champions League and has not lost all hope for the title of champion of France or the Coupe de France. So for the last months of Patrice Canayer on the Hérault bench we can wish the MHB to win a new trophy. It would be his 40th in thirty seasons at the head of the club. For farewells in the form of a nice wink.
Usam: the top 5… and fewer injuries!
After a thunderous start, Usam weakened in the fall and finished the first leg in 8th place. The top 5, the official objective, is still accessible (with a continental preliminary round ?) but Europe, the unofficial objective, will be hard to obtain: 4th place of the championship is 6 points and Nîmes will play in Paris against PSG in the quarter-final of the Coupe de France… In 2024, we expect more victories (notably at Parnassus, which must become impregnable again) and fewer injuries (one seven on the flank at the end of 2023). It should be the end of a cycle, too, with certainly a new coach and the departure or cessation of historic players (Dupuy, Gallego ?, Rebichon ?, Sanad ?).
A place in the Final Four for Frontignan THB
They touched him last season for their first experience in Proligue, without managing to catch him. And it’s inevitably in the back of their minds. After fighting eye to eye with the Karabatic brothers' PSG in the Coupe de France, the Frontignanais started the season with a bang. A long series of injuries in the back line has slowed this progression towards a possible Final Four, but the FTHB is fifth and has the means to turn the table over. To the impossible, no Frontignanais is required!
BLMA, back to the top!
After a difficult start to the season, the Gazelles have regained color. And can still hope to shine on the national and European stages. Third in LFB, qualified in the round of 16 of Eurocup, the girls of Valery Demory are on excellent passing times which allow them to ;rsquo;hoping for a cannonball end to the season. And why not a new trophy…
Béziers Angels, Ligue A (F): on all fronts
Still qualified in the CEV Cup, the Angels of Béziers also have the Ligue A playoffs in their sights. In the Coupe de France, they will challenge Nantes, leader of the championship, to try to keep their trophy.
Montpellier HSC VB, Ligue a (M): the playoffs first
Stuck in sixth place in the standings, Lorenzo Tubertini's men should have no problem securing a place in the playoff. Before perhaps hoping to go higher at the end of the season.
Arago Sète, Ligue A (M): playoffs, simply
They have almost never left the playoff wagon but, paradoxically, the window of opportunity to invite themselves there will be short. During the first leg, the Sétois did not beat any of the top seven in the standings. It is therefore for this 8th place that they will fight, perhaps until the end.
Mende Volley, League B (M): between playoffs and maintenance
Last season's finalists are having trouble confirming. We nevertheless wish them to make the playoffs so that they can dream a little longer.