For a year now, a new coach has been at the head of the French women’s basketball team: Jean-Aimé Toupane, 13th coach in the history of Les Bleues. As the World Cup begins, for which the French team is aiming for a medal, meeting with the new strong man of French women’s basketball.
By Léa Borie – Preview excerpt from Women Sports magazine to be published on October 1st
The former Senegalese international, successor to Valérie Garnier, former international player eight years at the head of the Blue, had been in the bosom of the French Basketball Federation (FSBB) for twenty years already. Arriving in France in the 1980s, Jean-Aimé Toupane obtained two master’s degrees in management and in sports law and economics. After playing 13 seasons in pro A and B, with “the luck of not having had a lot of injuries and having finished [sa] later career », Toupane became sports director of the Toulouse club, before the National 1 of Clermont-Ferrand, Hyères-Toulon in Pro B, and the Pole France in National 1. He won the Euroleague junior tournament and placed himself as the coach the most successful in history in the France team with five medals in the U20 category. But you will understand, until then, Jean-Aimé Toupane had not yet tried to train women. This is the opportunity that came to him.
“As a federal coach, I accepted the missions that were offered to me. Accompanying such a prestigious team, living an experience of such magnitude for the 2022 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics, with a solid staff around, you can’t refuse! » It is above all for the performance that the father of Axel Toupane accepts the challenge. “We are lucky in France, both boys and girls, to benefit from good training, the players are there. Also, I’m lucky to work with girls who have a lot of international experience. » The coach also does not hide that a lot weighs on his shoulders: “We are expected. We are part of a large federation. It’s also a lot of responsibility. We started to put ourselves in place after the mutations and to build with methodology”. For that, he can also count on his staff: “We ask the girls to play as a team, and we also internally, to succeed at the highest level, we have to work as a team. »
« I insist on high performance: this is not gendered »
For him, there is no major difference in his approach: “Obviously, my relationship with the players and the players between them is different than in a men’s club. But the performance remains the same. When I am reminded that I come from men’s basketball, I insist on high performance: this is not gendered. Because by dint of dissociating girls and boys, we set limits. All I know is that today, everything is going faster. We must try to get closer to this endurance. As long as you can do more then go for it! »