Nicolas Anelka got himself dismissed from the French soccer squadron in South Africa the other day, ending his World Cup campaign. The dismissal may have ended his World Cup career as well, since the forward is now in his thirties. Anelka apparently went off on head coach Raymond Domenech during halftime of France’s loss to Mexico and refused to apologize following the game. But that’s not really the interesting part.
It turns out that the president of the French Football Federation insisted Anelka apologize, and subsequently made the decision to dismiss the Chelsea striker. Domenech simply “went along” with the decision once Anelka refused to apologize. Seriously, the guy is such a garbage coach that he can’t even discipline his own whining, underachieving players.
Now, the rest of the French team has refused to train as a protest of the way Anelka’s situation was handled. The president of the French Football Federation – you know, the guy who caused his mess in the first place – subsequently resigned upon hearing the team wasn’t going to practice.
Just to throw a little gasoline on the fire, Domenech essentially said it was out of his hands and that the Anelka thing wasn’t all that big of a deal, saying the incident was not “a personal problem between the coach and the player,” but “a problem concerning the Federation and the image of the French team.”
The Federation realizes this never would have been an image issue if they hadn’t made such a huge public deal out of dismissing Anelka, right? If this had been handled in-house (like it should have been) no one would be talking about how bad this makes everyone look and the team would be practicing today.
And if you’ve seen them perform so far in South Africa, you’re well aware that Les Blues could use the practice.
The biggest winner here is definitely Domenech, since this is the only way anyone is going to look like a bigger buffoon than him. The biggest loser is, as always, France.
And now the 0-1-1 French national side is heading into their final group game needing a win over South Africa and for Mexico/Uruguay to not end in a tie, so they can advance. But instead, they’re not practicing because some one other than the coach ran their starting striker off (Anelka has since said he’ll retire from international competition). I realize Thierry Henry should have been starting from the beginning, but this probably isn’t the way he wanted it to happen.
Can you imagine if team presidents did this in, say, the NBA, MLB, or NFL? Good lord. That would be the worst thing to happen to them ever…until the female condom with teeth made its way to America.