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Clermont's female coach Diacre ‘calm’ ahead of debut

© Thierry Zoccolan, AFP / Corinne Diacre speaks at a press conference after her appointment as Clermont’s new coach

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-05

Frenchwoman Corinne Diacre, the only female coach of a men’s professional football team in Europe, said Monday she was feeling calm before her first game. Her French Ligue 2 side Clermont is set to play against Brest on Monday night.

Diacre became the most high-profile woman in European football when she was appointed as head coach of French Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot last June. The 40-year-old former assistant coach to the French women's national team said she would not "get polluted" by the media frenzy surrounding her nomination.

"There is serenity," she said on Monday morning in a video press conference on the club's website.

"I'm trying to maintain my focus as much as possible and to stay as much in the shadows as possible because what interests me is that my players take the limelight, not me," she added.

Clermont may only be 14th in France’s Ligue 2, but it will be the biggest men’s club ever coached by a woman.

Publicity stunt?

Diacre was hired after Clermont's original choice, Portuguese Helena Costa, resigned abruptly the day before taking charge of the team.

Costa said that she had been sidelined by her male colleagues, who signed up new players and arranged "friendly" matches without her knowledge.

"There were a series of events that no trainer would tolerate and a total lack of respect as well as amateurism," said Costa when she decided to quit.

Undeterred by that setback, the club’s president, Claude Michy, decided to hire another woman. The appointment of female coaches has generated quite a few headlines for Clermont around the world.

"I think all this interest is over the top with regards to my presence. What I'd like is for us to concentrate on Clermont," Diacre said hours before her first competitive game as Clermont's coach.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-08-04

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