Women’s French Cup: Yzeure faces biggest challenge in its history

D2’s small budget, Yzeure challenges PSG in the final of the Coupe de France this Sunday. The match of a lifetime for the girls of Ophelie Meilleroux, a former France international and coach of a very young group. The Indian Paper had gone to meet him.

“To say we are not thinking of PSG would be a lie to you”. Ten days before the final of the Women’s French Cup against Paris Saint-Germain, Christine Maini was aware of the importance of such an appointment. The captain of D2’s smallest budget, Yzeure (38) is not on his first try: he has two World Cups, the 2012 Olympics and seven African Cup of Nations with Cameroon. And last weekend’s loss against Merignac-Arlac (3-1) marks a minor break in the already extraordinary season of the FFYAA (women’s football Yézur Allier Auvergne).

“We have no illusions, there is a difference of ten squares”

Despite a lack of resources and an estimated budget of 270,000 euros, Allier club are currently third in Group B in D2 (35 points), behind Rodez, promoted to D1 (48 points), and Nice (35 points). 37 points), his final rival in the league (22 May). If the championship remains a priority, the Coupe de France final against the defending French champions, which starts at 6:15 pm on Sunday, is the “icing on the cake” for the club’s general manager, Renaud Fabre. “It’s an unimaginable achievement. The enthusiasm is enormous from a city of 12,000 residents. We have no illusions. Ten deviations are squares. But if there are gifts, we’ll take them. If we compare our means, we’ll find ourselves With the budget a PSG can afford a player, not a player (laughs). It’s just a bonus, but the girls prepare normally without any pressure. The group doesn’t lead.

It is not Opheille Meilleroux who would say the opposite. The former French international (67 caps) came to the first-team’s defense last February after Theodore Genoux’s departure. Keeping her hat as the club’s vice president and her second job at Bourbon-Lancey (Sane-et-Loire), where she works as an employee of the city’s technical services. “I took over the group three months ago and sometimes it is difficult to manage everything at once. For now, I am doing my best. But this club is very close to my heart”, trained at Yazure the person says.

Opheille Meilleroux during the semifinals of the women's CDF in 2022.
Ophélie Meilleroux during the women’s CDF semifinals in 2022. © Iconsport

a small thumb not affected

In the midst of her busy schedule, Opélée Meilleroux has carefully scheduled the final days before the big meeting at Dijon’s Gaston-Gerrard Stadium. Five training sessions, including the eve of a very light match, try to thwart the plans of Marie-Antoinette Catoto and Kadidiatou Diani. “It’s still a football game, a lot can happen in 90 minutes. We dream, but we also keep our feet on the ground”, says Christine Maini, who has faced some players in selection. “The group is young and cosmopolitan, but with a lot of maturity, he continues. . When we play our best, it inevitably drives us to better ourselves.”

It is the match of a lifetime for a large part of the Coupe de France final group, which also includes the FFYAA captain, a facilitator in the schools and the football school coordinator. “It’s the most beautiful moment compared to my age. Of course, I experienced two World Cups and the Olympics, but I was young. In fact, at the age of 38, I would never have imagined playing such a match. The Cameroonian international also declined to talk about the last big match of her career and Formiga (44), a former PSG player and now considering a career in So Paulo. “He blew me away and I was inspired by him. Well I faced him at the Olympic Games! But Christine Maini’s still on the field. At some point the body will say wait, but I’m still inspired.”

Bad resources…

Despite the adversary’s prestige, the motivation that propelled his teammates to this great meeting. “PSG are one of the best teams in the world and have been competing against Lyon in recent seasons, notes Ophelie Meilleroux. This will be an opportunity to compare ourselves at D1 level and see what we can do against the best of the best. They deserve it. It’s also a reward for the whole season because they put in a lot of hard work. The girls deserve this final and they have a lot of will. I have never seen such impressive mental strength.”

Despite a clear environment, the Yejurians continue to fish. Many of them commute to Bellecombe Stadium by scooter or bicycle and work nearby. “We have mediocre training conditions. We do not have the means to have a professional structure that can facilitate recovery. We have only three players under federal contract”, the coach continues. By comparison, Parisians have a better federal contract (women’s football has no professional contract).

Christine Maini against FC Nantes in the semi-final of the Women's French Cup.

…but a current enthusiasm

However, supporters are busy coming and encouraging their team. “Buses have been hired to transport Yajurians who want to come to Dijon. We expect to have around 400 or 500 fans. We managed to attract 1,900 people for the semi-final against Nantes at home”, ten Outlined Renaud Fabre the day before. A few hours before kick-off, expectations are beyond expectations. More than 1,000 supporters have already reserved their seats for the 200-km journey that separates them from Cte d’Or.

After Evian (2-2 then 5-3 on penalties), Toulouse (1-1, 5-4), Lille (1-1, 5-4), Rodez (1-0) and Nantes (3-1) After a historic clear round, Yazure is on the lookout for a new spectacular to bring down the French champions.

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