Basketball: The French team made its mark at the Dijon Sports Palace

In the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, France will play Portugal at the Palais des Sports in Dijon on Thursday, February 24th. French basketball players participated in their first training sessions. Deputy General Manager Boris Diao and former Dijon Axel Julien stockpiled on Tuesday, February 22nd.

In the sports section, the arrival of the French basketball team is the event of the week in Dijon. It’s been more than twenty years since she came to play in the regional capital. She will do so on Thursday, February 24, 2022 on the parquet floor of the Dijon Sports Hall, facing Portugal (between 7pm).
The general manager of the French team, Boris Diao, recorded this return to Dijon on the grounds that this team belongs to all basketball amateurs and fans.

“There’s always been a very big basketball culture here”

“This is also the France team, they are able to be close to your fans. Many cities love basketball and we know Dijon likes it. There has always been a very big basketball culture here,” confirms the former professional basketball player, who has family ties to Dijon. He recalls the high-profile trips when he played at Pau Orthez (2000-2003): “I remember it was hard to come and play in Dijon, with an audience that really pushed their team. There’s often a fire in the crowd here.”
The interior renovation of the Jean-Michel Geoffroy gymnasium carried out by the City of Dijon and also the reputable JDA Dijon – a “well-organised club” – also counts in EdF’s selection. This one takes its marks “in nice infrastructure”, close to the hotel. Correct preparation conditions are met.

The stay in Dijon is short, before going to face Portugal at home in Porto on Sunday 27 February. French basketball players will have a few laps of their legs before they play a match that counts in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. It is therefore an important match, even if it is not to insult the opposing team by saying that it certainly does not. The French national team intimidated. Portugal, 58 in the FIBA ​​rankings, is currently bottom of Group E.

Whatever the status of your favorite French basketball players, it’s time to prepare, and you have to stay serious so that you can then enforce the hierarchy with style. The first two sessions, Monday at the end of the afternoon and Tuesday morning, allowed work on the principles of the game and systems without opposition. If the international “window” is narrow, the France squad surrounding coach Vincent Colette relies on a group of players accustomed to such stays.

Axel Julian wants a ‘beautiful evening’

One is also used in the lounge and parquet flooring in this gymnasium. Apparently former captain and JDA Dijon captain Axel Julien is playing for Bourg-en-Bresse this season. “It’s better than coming back in the opponent’s shirt, that’s for sure, and in addition, with the French national team shirt, it’s a little bit of pride,” he said.

On January 29, he was given a standing ovation but there is no doubt that the final result (54-88 for Bourg-en-Bresse) did not satisfy Dijon supporters at all. This time around, Axel Julian could free himself even more, excited by the idea of ​​playing under uniform colours.
His feelings two days before the match: Dijon is a city that deserves such events and I am happy for its supporters. For those from Dijon or Chalon-sur-Saone, I think it’s a great event, it’s going to be fun. I’ve had six wonderful years here that ended in the best of ways. I still have a lot of communication with people here so I expect to receive a warm welcome. At the idea of ​​playing again in this room, and seeing the people I know again, I will try to give them the best match possible and that this is a really good evening for them and the French team.

These comments are consistent with the player’s desire to think first and foremost of a collective victory: “In the France team, the goal is to qualify the team. I want to be efficient, to show what I can do to settle there more and more. It goes through qualifying and we’ll see later, but I don’t set my goals.” Personal before qualification. I prefer to think about the team, and he is working at the moment.”

Axel Julien is sure anyway that the atmosphere will be there: “I’m sure Dijon will be more than just a spectator, a real supporter. She represents some of the strength of the Dijonne crowd, they’ve become players of the match, and for the players at home, that’s always the case. Additional feature. Challonnais supporters will be able to see Mathias Lesort, Nicolas Lange or David Mitchino again.

In this international “window”, twelve players and three coaching partners are part of the group. Axel Tuban and Mathias Lissort returned to this group, as Sylvan Francisco, who plays for a club in Manresa, Spain, was incorporated. Players competing in the Euroleague and NBA are not in the game. Amin Noa drops permanently and is not compensated.
Remember that in this qualifier, the French national team has already achieved two victories. She beat Montenegro and Hungary in November 2021.

Alex Berther
Photos: Alex Brether

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