‘We know how lucky we are’

In the penultimate game of the 2020/2021 season, Salbourg has come back to life since being rescued thanks to an overhaul of the league and a transition to 16 clubs. Coach Christophe Bondant is making the most of this season’s opportunity to rebuild his squad in an increasingly competitive tournament.

How have you been this Proligue season in Sarrebourg?

This is much better than last season. We’re better in the standings, but paradoxically, we’re not saved yet. Anyone can beat anyone. Not necessarily last year. With more points, we’re in a situation that’s not entirely stable. We think it’s satisfying game-wise, but we still have a lot to improve, especially on offense. Overall, we are making progress compared to last year.

Moving to 16 clubs benefits you in the end-of-season draft. Did it help you prepare for this new season?

We know how lucky we are. We have a good reflection on all parts of the game. We take care of all the management of the players and look at what we can do best in each area. We try to be better offense, defense, quick play…

in communication with players. We formed an attack department, a defense department… (sic) We improved all the axes that could be improved. Until now, we have not had a sports coach. The season is over. Humbly, we move forward. It bears fruit.

Is it getting harder and harder for a city like Saarburg to find a place in the Proligue?

In this championship game, we are still aliens. Saarburg has 12,000 inhabitants. Apart from the handball culture behind Sélestat with 18,000 inhabitants, we are an irreducible Gallic hamlet. Afterwards, there was a frenzy around Saarburg.

It’s always full. But we are far from big cities. We’re assuming it, and we’re not making it any worse. However, we find it difficult to attract, especially partners. We navigate between professionalizing the youth team and maintaining family virtues. We have a team 2 that will move up to N3 next year. It is based on family spirit. Everyone put their stones in. Specialization is mandatory.

Christophe Bondant is at the heart of the Sarrebourg project

That means keeping quiet this season…

(he interrupts) We don’t think of ourselves as others. Indeed, we want to go step by step. Last year, we were lucky enough to have hot bread. But securing this year’s continuation will allow us to continue to progress and move forward quietly.

Even for Angers, it’s not over. Champions are so weird that they can fight for victory. The level has risen. No more small teams.

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