Handball – Jackson Richardson with Olivier Girault for the FF Handball election

HANDBALL – Following his rupture of the cruciate ligament of the knee, Nikola Karabatic says he is ready to take up the challenge before him. Challenges that the Blues will have to meet without him.

As we announced to you yesterday, Nikola Karabatic will be kept away from the grounds for more than 6 months. He will therefore be missing major events in club and selection. The Final Four of the Champions League, the World Cup and the TQO will be played without him. The player hopes for a return for the Tokyo Olympics, which is possible. To do this, the men of Guillaume Gille will therefore have to pass the obstacle of the qualifying tournament, where the Croats will face them, in addition to Portugal and Tunisia. And the coach is well aware of the great void that the number 13 of the France team will leave.

A huge void to fill

Guillaume Gille knows it, the challenge is immense. « It’s always a painful moment to learn this kind of news for any player, and a little more when it comes to Niko, because we all know his importance in the France group and on the pitch. . “, he told theAFP. We can only go in its direction. Since January 2004, the center-half and left-back had never missed a major meeting with the Blues. To his credit ? 21 consecutive tournaments and 9 major titles. It is obvious therefore to say that the 2nd top scorer in the history of the Blues will be missing.

What also asserts without dispute Jerome Fernandez, number 1 in the same ranking. He who notably worked with Nikola Karabatic under the blue tunic from 2002 to 2015 claimed on Eurosport what « France without Karabatic at TQO it will be very difficult ». We can therefore only agree with two old essential cogs of blue mechanics. But whatever the case, the teammates of captain Cédric Sorhaindo will have to find the necessary resources to respond present in these major events that will arise in front of them. And why not, the return of their star player for the major tournament of the year 2021. He is waiting for that.

The Olympics in the sights

Following an interview with Parisian, Nikola Karabatic did not of course hide his frustration: « I am disappointed of course. I am also sad not to be able to help my team anymore in this long and difficult season. But it is part of the athlete’s life. My goal is to come back as soon as possible, in good shape, and without taking any risks. » He admits « not to project further » and that it will be « a personal challenge to take up ». The player who turns 37 in April, however, has a goal in mind. It is of course question of the Olympics which will take place from July 23 in Tokyo. A reasonable time under conditions of qualification of the Blues therefore.

As a reminder, he was given little chance to participate in the 2019 World Cup following his operation for a hallux valgus. A few months later, he was decisive against Germany to snatch bronze at the 2019 World Cup. There is no doubt that the player will be determined to take part in the competition.

Julien Correia

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