Merci Toni: Kombouare’s Work Cannot Be Forgotten

With all the attention focused on the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti yesterday afternoon, the news of former Coach Antoine Kombouare was somewhat minimal.

The club confirmed the news of his departure at 1:20pm via a statement on the club’s Official Site that read; “After two years in which he served with passion as PSG coach, Antoine Kombouare leaves Paris Saint-Germain from this date.”

“PSG would like to thank Antoine Kombouare for the professionalism he has shown throughout his work and expresses its best wishes for success in his new endeavours.

“For his part, Antoine Kombouare expressed his gratitude to PSG for the confidence shown in him over the years. He remains the biggest supporter of the club and is confident that success will continue in the coming years.”

It was certainly a bittersweet afternoon. On one hand, welcoming one of world football’s elite Coaches to the Parc des Princes, but also losing a humble man who gave so much to the club – not only as a Coach – but also during his time as a player.

Leading the club to two back to back Coupe de France finals – winning one in 2010 and just coming up short against Lille last season – he gave the PSG faithful a sense of pride after years of mediocrity.

Things in the league drastically improved too. In his inaugural campaign, the club only managed a 13th place finish but turned fortunes around the following year and cemented a 4th place finish, the club’s best league finish for seven years. Qualification for Europe was secured, only missing out on a place in the Champions League by four points.

He also integrated the younger players with the veterans superbly, finding the correct balance that formulated magnificently. The influence of Claude Makelele and Ludovic Giuly last season epitomised that. Giuly in particular had a wonderful swan song in his final season for the club, playing a major role in the attack and contributing with eight assists.

Kombouare also brought in the likes of Nene and Christophe Jallet who have gone on to become pivotal members of the team. Nene, especially has been a certain starter since he arrived from Monaco, being one of the league’s standout performers thus far.

Qatar Sports Investment taking over the club in the summer instantly put Kombouare’s job in jeopardy. They wanted a marquee name that would put the club well and truly on the map. Unfortunately, he did not match that criteria and his position became untenable.

He really could not have done anymore, steering the club to the summit of Ligue 1 heading into the winter break and with a three point lead – losing just three matches. However, elimination from the Europa League gave QSI the perfect excuse to make a change and reel in Monsieur Ancelotti.

Despite his low-key departure, the 48-year-old has played a pivotal role in laying the foundations for what should be a prosperous era for the club. The work he has done in the last two and a half years should be remembered greatly, particularly by QSI who should be grateful for the sterling contribution he has given to the club.

Merci Toni and good luck for the future…

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