Football, R1. Jamal El Ghabbar, the fired AS Trouville-Deauville coach, comes out of his silence

Jamal El Ghabbar. (©The Pays d’Auge)

Jamal El Ghabbar, you were removed from the head of the pennant team two weeks ago. Why did you wait so long before expressing yourself?

Already because not everything had been arranged with Deauville. I also wanted to take my time to express it, because you have to absorb it.

How did you learn this information?
I got a call on a Sunday night to tell me I was no longer directing the premiere. I was suprised. I was told that the club wanted to make an electroshock. I have taken note of this decision. I have met my leaders.

What conclusion do you draw?
It’s not easy firing a coach, especially because I come from two seasons with a more than honorable record. When in June 2020 I was asked to take over the first team three weeks before the end of the recruitment. We had to look for workers. The first year I recruited ten players from the bottom of France in three weeks. I only had seven players when I took over the team. The group had to be restructured. We managed to put together a very good quality squad.

And the covid arrived… was that a blessing in disguise?

I’m sorry we didn’t play as we had the resources to have a very good run in the league. We had managed to find top players. Some left to play in N2, meaning I wasn’t too wrong. Half remains. The others left to play upstairs.

And for this season?
We hired 11 players last summer with more recruiting from the region in consultation with the leaders. We recruited in Le Havre and Caen. There is a quality staff with the smallest budget, for 20 years, at ASTD. I’m proud of that. We have created a work dynamic with 20 players per session. Sportingly we reached the 7th round of the Coupe de France, which has not happened often in the history of the club. We managed to get the audience back to the stadium. Everyone noticed that Deauville had deployed tempting content.

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And why didn’t that translate into rankings?
There is bad luck and restlessness in the defense. We were also naive. We often had seven or eight chances per game. We’ve worked, but there’s also a trust issue. Now the game has always remained. The priority was to play well for the team. The priority was with the game: when you have the material, it always spins in the right direction. We also had to fight against the dictatorship of the result. If you don’t take points, players will lose their confidence.

Do you resent your leaders for deciding to remove you from the head of the pennant team?
I don’t blame my leaders. For me, I am a victim of my ambitions and my demands. I wasn’t there to hand out candy. I don’t regret what I’ve done. I leave with pride. My game plan will never be based on a single player, especially when he barely has the R1 level, contrary to what some think who have no great knowledge of football. We coaches are prepared for these kinds of events. The leaders gave in in panic when a third of the championship was left. We still had our fate in place, but with fewer matches.

Do you feel responsible?
I also recognize my share of the responsibility, especially in certain recruits who are good football players, but you also have to be athletes while being good players to evolve in R1. Being a good player is no longer enough if you want to play at the top of the R1 table. I lacked a little vigilance. Now I’ve never cheated. I would like to thank Max Leverrier and Fabien Escandre who followed me and granted my requests. I also thank the volunteers, educators and referees of the club.

Have you been to the last two games of the ASTD despite your expulsion?
I haven’t been to the last two games. I don’t want to bother some players with my presence who might lose their concentration. Next season I’m going to ASTD, but I want to leave them alone so they can get the maintenance.

Finally, where are you going to bounce back, will you?
I’m too hungry. I will continue. Football is a part of my life. I listen to a good project, which can be a coach or in another role. Now you should have a good project.

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