Bergeaud Aiming To Keep Team Spirit

France coach Claude Bergeaud fears it will be difficult to recreate the team spirit engendered by his side during the recent EuroBasket 2005.

Les Bleus recovered from an indifferent start to the competition, which saw them lose to Greece and Slovenia in the group stage, to oust host nation Serbia & Montenegro and defending champions Lithuania.

They then went on to claim the bronze medal by thrashing Spain on Sunday, a result which booked their place in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

This EuroBasket marked the start of something new but everything remains very fragile
Claude Bergeaud

Bergeaud hopes to build on the grit and character shown by his side but knows it will be hard to reproduce once his players return to their respective club teams.”Usually everyone spreads at the airport and goes back to their clubs,” he told L’Equipe. “But this time it is horrible because we don’t know when we are going to see each other again.

“This EuroBasket marked the start of something new but everything remains very fragile.”

One of the main accusations levelled at Les Bleus in recent years has been that some of their players are more dedicated to their club sides than the national team, which has often in turn created a poor spirit amongst the France squad.

Bergeaud continued: “For the World Championships next year, there will be no obvious choices otherwise we will be back into the individualisation of the team and we will have to pay cash (to get some of the squad members to play).

“If some players take part in the NBA’s summer leagues, they will not come to play with the national team. I’d rather start the preparation later but with everyone there together.

“One of the reasons why we started off this tournament badly is because the team did not train together enough.”

The key player of the team is Antoine (Rigaudeau).
Claude Bergeaud

The return of centre Frederic Weis, who had not played for France for three years, was also a huge fillip for Bergeaud but the coach is aware that some of his experienced players, such as Antoine Rigaudeau, might not be around for next year’s event.”The key player of the team is Antoine,” he added. “But where will he be next year? The group has grown but it still needs a player like him whose role is to stabilise.

“I am thinking about Mous Sonko but will he be ready? I am also thinking about Laurent Foirest.”

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