How Antoine Kombouaré lost the Nantes dressing room and the board’s support

FC Nantes are set to part ways with head coach Antoine Kombouaré as early as this afternoon. Les Canaris are 17th in the Ligue 1 standings, having failed to clinch a league win since February 12. The Loire-Atlantique side have registered four draws and seven losses in their last eleven league games. Last week, Nantes were humiliated 5-1 in the Coupe de France final against Toulouse, and lost consecutive six-pointers against relegation-battlers Brest (0-2) and Strasbourg (0-2).

According to a Ouest-France feature, Nantes president and owner Waldemar Kita had already thought about replacing Kombouaré last autumn when the club was already badly struggling. Former Rennes and Nottingham Forest coach Sabri Lamouchi has been sounded out. Kita was reportedly “gutted” after the Coupe de France humbling against Toulouse. The Nantes players’ entourage then complained to Kita about Kombouaré’s alleged “lack of instructions” and “tactical void”.

In the week building up to the all-important game against Strasbourg, Kombouaré had met with key players, to no avail. Brazilian centre-back Andrei Girotto reportedly told his coach he no longer wanted to play in midfield. Eventually, he played as a defensive midfielder aginst the Alsatians. On Sunday, Nantes played with five players at the back, but the players did not work on that system last week. “Before playing, we should at least start to train“, an unnamed starter said. “We don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing.” The dressing room is reportedly surprised by the casualness and the lack of intensity that have defined training sessions at La Jonelière, the club’s training ground. Nantes U19 coach Pierre Aristouy and the womens team’s coach Osvaldo Vizcarrondo are expected to replace Kombouaré.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

More European Football News