Three months after playing in the Final 4 of the Champions League, HBC Nantes will return to competition for a first day of the championship, Saturday, at the neighboring Cesson-Rennes. But the queen event of the European Cup will not be on the program this season. Third last year behind Montpellier and the untouchable PSG, the Nantes residents did not manage to grab one of the two qualifying places. Revanchard, the president of “H”, Gaël Pelletier, warns that he does not want to miss the boat this time.
“There is a real desire to regain the Champions League, he insists. I think that the place of HBC Nantes today is there, especially after our last campaign. This is our priority objective. “For that, it will be necessary to be extremely concentrated in the league. “On French territory at a minimum, no team scares us. We are able to beat them all. We will apply ourselves not to lose matches that we should not lose. To put a little more pressure on Paris, which remains with means that no French club can reach. “
Emblematic departures to replace
At the same time, the H will try to “fight for the French cups”. As for the European League (former EHF Cup), the small European Cup, the “H” simply aims to win it. “It will be very tough with, in particular, four renowned German clubs. But we want to go to the end, to register for the first time the name of a French club in the prize list. “
Seven departures were recorded in the offseason, including four emblematic players (Feliho, Dumoulin, Gurbindo, Nyokas). And despite a budget (7.3 million euros) revised downwards after the health crisis, five recruits have come to strengthen the team: the back Linus Person and Alexander Shkurinskiy, the pivot Ruben Marchan, the right winger Pedro Portela and goalkeeper Mickaël Robin. Two new goalkeepers have also signed up for 2022: Viktor Hallgrimson, “a very promising young Icelandic”, and the Croatian international Ivan Pesic, “used to European games”.
The return of the public, the main asset
As for the new captain, following the retirement of Rock Feliho, it will be no big surprise Valero Rivera. “He is a player who embodies performance, history and attachment to the club,” explains Gaël Pelletier.
HBC Nantes also knows that it should be able to count on one of its main assets this year: its supporters, among the most loyal and loudest in European handball. Some 3,300 subscribers have signed up this season. To thank them, the new jerseys will feature the names of more than a thousand supporters in the background. The club, whose receipts from its hall represent 80% of its turnover, has also already planned to organize two matches in the XXL hall of the Parc des Expos de la Beaujoire (10,000 seats) opposite Chambéry then Paris in December.