designed for handball magazine and Sports DailyFormer Blues coach and current Nice general manager Didier Dinet reflects on his compelling experience in Saudi Arabia, where he qualified for the 2023 World Championships and remains open to future projects. Interview with Le Quotidien du Sport and Handball magazine.
Can we talk about recent achievements in Saudi Arabia?
absolute. Especially since the country is ineligible for the 2021 World Cup, six months ago, following elections, a new federation was created. The federation wants a French coach and world champion.
I also wanted to get out of my comfort zone and show something else and leave with a choice that wasn’t in the highest realm of the world. I want to take it to the highest level. We are eager to qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
Mission accomplished brilliantly. We have worked well with the staff to prepare the players both physically and technically. By winning the Adriatic Cup by beating countries like Belgium and Italy, we saw the real foundation.
Didier Dinart From coach to coach
How do you change your players in two months?
On August 15th, I set foot in Saudi Arabia for the first time. That’s a lot of sacrifice and investment. The task took five and a half months until the bronze medal was won at the Asian Championships on January 31. The last medal dates back to 2012 (Bronze). Ten years have passed without a win. It is necessary to analyze the champions: to establish the best options at the physical level and the club. It is necessary to use the best means available to achieve this short-term goal.
But why did you stop this option?
I quit, but I’m done. This is a short-term goal. We lead this team as best we can. If I stay, we’ll continue on a long-term development mission because we know there’s a lot to do. Stopping this choice is also a personal choice. I had a really wonderful adventure with Saudi Arabia. Sometimes things just stop like that.
“We didn’t do it by hammering out that beautiful European locomotive. It’s an ambitious project that takes time to build”
Do you have any current specific leads?
When you have a great sport, you always try to take on the challenge. Today, all I can say is that I have nothing. I will take the time to analyze these recommendations. Based on the proposed project, I will position myself. I really didn’t expect to go to Saudi Arabia. However I went to the Middle East and everything went well. You don’t have to spend time on what you do. Therefore, I am open to any ambitious development projects, whether in the club or the national team.
How is the Nice project with you as manager going?
Just like when you build a house, you have a foundation. This doesn’t happen with the flick of a finger. So progress will take some time. We don’t come to this conclusion by hammering out that Nice will be Europe’s great locomotive. This is an ambitious project. Again, it takes construction time.
What are Nice’s ambitions?
This is a question that should be asked more of the president.
Didier Dinart likes Nice
Are you still the first supporter of the Blues?
Of course! I follow their game. I believe the Football Association will make the necessary adjustments to be at the top of the World Cup and Olympics. You can only have a blue heart when you’ve been in the house for 23 years. Most of my records were established with the French team. These are unforgettable moments.
Do you think the end of your career as a Blues coach could be an obstacle to future challenges, especially in France?
My mission has stopped. The rest is irrelevant. I am not against anything. Any smart person sitting around a table can find a way to work together. I am a very optimistic person by nature. I always have a habit of seeing my glass half full.
I don’t focus on what can or should be done. But I’d rather tell myself that there are foundations and foundations. From these, I try to fill the other half of the glass. Some great things have been accomplished in my career. I move forward. I like to accept challenges. It’s part of the nature of high-performance sports.
Do you want to go back to France as a challenger?
I don’t ask myself such questions. There are staff in place.
Are you surprised by your recent fourth place finish in the Eurozone?
I’m a France supporter so I want to see this team as high as possible. Will come back, there are a lot of talented young people, and I have already started to integrate into the team when I was the coach.