Elie Merheb keeps distance from Alès Agglo volleyball: “It takes time to become competitive”

The club’s leader, Sports Manager, was established in 2019 and is the sole educator of the AAVB with 120 licensees.

They are a revival of Alesia volleyball. At the beginning of the season, Alès Agglo Volleyball hired a senior women’s team for the first time in the regional division. It’s a bit of a wild bet for such a young club, which was launched in 2019 on the ashes of the Cevennes Club’s (CAC) volleyball reckoning.

The all-female group of a dozen girls, with some additions to the staff – 17, started the season last October with nothing but progress and fun. Wait for better aiming.

Their first win (3-1) at home against Croix-d’Argent on 15 January since 2022 is a roadmap that has already come to fruition. possible…

“Help My Town”

At the origin of this sport, there is one person: Elie Merheb. A well-known figure in the local volleyball world. The Lebanese was part of the CAC’s adventure, co-leading Pro B’s French championship team in 2008, and was promoted to Pro A the following season. “Beautiful memories of that time”, remember Ellie. Unfortunately, in 2017, after a number of financial difficulties, the club will declare liquidation.

At the time, Eli found a new base with the Nimes women’s first team and progressed from National 2 to National 1 in 2019. After two years in Nimes, he decided to take on the Alésien challenge again. He’s still very attached: building clubs, recruiting, training, structuring and why not, being competitive again… “At Alès, I came back for a long-term program. A training program. I said to myself, it’s impossible to live without volleyball.”

Arriving in Brive-la-Gailarde, France in 1999, the 63-year-old manager now considers himself a native of Alessin after a career and multiple selections for the Lebanese national team. “I want to help my city and I know that Max Roustan and Christophe Rivenq want to build a volleyball club in Alès.”

limited means

The question now is one of the means. With a budget of €6,000 per season, the club has very limited leeway. However, the number of members doubled in two years, from 60 to 120 members in all categories starting at age 5. All this despite the health crisis.

The problem is, Elie is solely responsible for training and carrying everything on her shoulders. “The only coach is me. I’m in charge of all categories. Our problem is we can’t find any qualified coaches.” This hellish pace and this lack of means does not allow the club to play against other teams. In boys, the potential is there, “But minibuses, petrol, transportation, equipment…how to pay?”Miracle Eli.

“The future is ours – 17 years”

That doesn’t prevent sports managers from looking far. “The future is ours – 17 years”promises the leader to pull a list of girls between the ages of 13 and 16 from his tablet. “There you have the future of the club. With these girls we will be able to work. We are looking for training. It takes time to be competitive”Framed the old saint, head of the CAC training center, who has players who have become professionals such as Gary Chauvin (Tours) or Steve Perronette (Nantes) ).

AAVB doesn’t yet, but it shows that it already has the resource. One of its nuggets, 16-year-old Mina Gatabazi, has just joined Toulouse’s prestigious Raymond-Naves High School for a volleyball training session…

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