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Champions League Women: Loulou daughters in Montpellier return to Europe

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – PHILIPPE HUGUEN – | The women of Montpellier, during the final of the Coupe de France, April 18, 2015 at the stage of the Epopee in Calais

Precursor of women’s football in France, former president Louis Nicollin, who died last June, would have liked to accompany the return of Montpellier in the Champions League Wednesday at the Mosson in the round of 16 against the Russians of Zvezda.

“The president was proud that we qualified for the Champions League and that we were playing this competition, and if he had been present, this ambitious man would have liked to have gone far. will address the girls, “confesses Jean-Louis Saez, the coach of the Montpellier team.

Montpellier, who finished second in the championship last year, was second in the C1 2017 final round of the championship. Montpellier is back in the prestigious continental event eight years after his last appearance, where he was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Swedes ‘Umea IK.

Ringed for his gritty jokes and attacked by feminist associations for his questionable statements, Louis Nicollin, who died on June 29 on his 74th birthday, was nevertheless the first French leader to promote women’s football.

Patron since 1974 of the club héraultais, who struggled to emerge from the anonymity of Ligue 1, “Loulou” launches in 2001 the women’s section. Faithful to his ambition, he gives himself the means to succeed by recruiting the international Hoda Lattaf, Sonia Bompastor or Camille Abily, before Jean-Michel Aulas and Lyon come to draw in his tank.

At the heart of the 2000s, Montpellier won two titles (2004, 2005), and three times the Coupe de France (2006, 2006, 2009).

– Compete with Lyon and PSG

Despite the emergence of Lyon, Louis Nicollin preserves his investment, now focusing on training and targeted recruitment.

Laurent Nicollin, son of Loulou and new president very involved with the girls, has leaned on the Swedish international Linda Sembrant and Sofia Jakobsson, finalists at the Rio Olympics, or Anouk to compete with the two mastodons, Lyon and the PSG Dekker, European champion this summer with the Netherlands.

“We have progressed steadily for several seasons, going from 4th to 2nd place in the championship, and if we do not climb to Lyon, we must stabilize among the top three of Cup of Europe, which offers a beautiful showcase, “explains Jean-Louis Saez.

To cross this new level, Montpellier will have to digest the severe defeat conceded Saturday at home before Lyon in the championship (5-0).

“We have to evacuate this slap to bounce and show another face to Zvezda, we have not managed to compete with the best in Europe. accessible and prove that the qualification is conceivable, “relativizes Saez.

“And for Louis Nicollin, we want to go as far as possible,” he concludes.

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