OL Women, four times champions of France, are at home to Toulouse for the first day of the new D1 season, on Sunday at 15h00.
"We’ve been back at work for six weeks now, we cannot wait to return to competition" confesses the new female team coach, Patrice Lair. After ten days of training in Tignes, and successful friendly matches (3-0 against Rodez and Allier Yzeure and a win at the tournament in Claix), OL’s female team of 2010/2011 will pass their first exam on Sunday at the playing fields of Gerland against Toulouse.
It will be the opportunity to discover the faces of the summer recruits, Eugenie Le Sommer, best player and top goalscorer of last season, and Sabrina Viguier, an experienced defender who arrived from Montpellier. We will also be able to gauge whether the work done since the start of pre-season is already bearing fruit. Under the orders of Patrice Lair who is considered to be very active on the sidelines, we are expecting an OL side who are attack minded and willing to play, winning the ball back high up the pitch, occupying the wings and with presence in front of goal, with commitment and defensive discipline, even if Toulouse does not seem to be the ideal opponent to test the rear guard of the vice-champions of Europe.
League champions from 1999 to 2002, Toulouse have lost their lustre, as was explained to us by a former player, Sabrina Viguier: "The level has dropped slightly since then, the club relies more on a youth policy, with some senior players like Karima Benameur, Marie-Ange Kramo or Virginia Dessalle. But anything can happen, we must remain vigilant". More than winning, Patrice Lair hopes for a convincing performance on Sunday, and take the lead in the championship from the start: "I want to see great play, players having fun. At the same time, two competitors for the title, Montpellier and PSG face each other, we must know how to take advantage of that".
For his first game with OL, the new coach of the women will be deprived of one of the key elements of its system, Elodie Thomis, who is in recovery following a muscle injury picked up with France. Sandrine Dusang and Isabell Herlovsen will play with the reserve team, trying to catch up physically.
Goalkeepers: Bouhaddi, Pons
Defenders: Georges, Viguier, Renard, Akherraze
Midfielders: Franco, Cruz, Stensland, Henry, Kaci, Nécib, Dickenmann
Strikers: Schelin, Le Sommer, Brétigny