Sunday May 15, Yzeure (Allier) faces PSG in the final of the French Women’s Football Cup. The shock of two clubs that everything opposes.
A class struggle: the first D2 club to reach the final of the Women’s French Cup, Yzeure and its amateur players are the surprise guest on Sunday May 15 in Dijon (6:15 p.m.), facing the stars of PSG, an obstacle a priori insurmountable. To reach the final, Yzeure only faced teams of a level lower than or equal to his, thus avoiding the big ones such as Paris which eliminated OL (3-0) in the round of 16. “This freed up space for us, of course. It’s the magic of the cup and the draw is part of it“, smiles Renaud Fabre, the general manager.
But the course of the Bourbonnaises also held by a thread with three victories on penalties, against Thonon-Evian (D2), Toulouse FC (regional level) and Lille (D2). And they only played outside once, in Rodez (D2, 1-0), in the quarters. This time, the step is much higher… Third in its D2 group (with a promotion out of reach in D1), the FFYAA (Women’s Football Yzeure Allier Auvergne) is exclusively female, was founded in 1999, and has 150 licensees for seven teams, one per age category. The club played in Division 1 from 2008 to 2014.
“For eight years, we have been ranked in places of honor. The financial means are lacking to go up. We have the smallest budget in D2“, points out Renaud Fabre, general manager. The budget is 275,000 euros, of which only 30,000 are municipal subsidies. A big difference in treatment and a lack of recognition according to the leaders, in comparison with the boys of AS Moulins-Yzeure (N2, 4th div.) who receive 190,000 euros from the City of Yzeure and as many from Moulins.The club has nevertheless been a springboard for renowned players, like its striker Seynabou Mbengue -20 goals this season including two in the semi-final against Nantes (D2, 2-1) – who should leave in the offseason.
Before becoming international, the Auvergnates Laure Boulleau (PSG), today a consultant on Canal plus, Charlotte Bilbaut (Montpellier, Paris FC, Bordeaux) or Sandrine Dusang (Lyon, Juvisy) went through Yzeure. As also the coach and deputy president of the club, Ophélie Meilleroux (38), trained at the club, former Soyaux and Montpellier, ex-captain of the France team (67 selections). Like the boss of the club, Dominique Darnet, engineer at the departmental directorate of territories (DDT), the players are all amateurs with a job, sometimes municipal, at the club, with sponsors and even… in a local fast food restaurant. They took a day off to go green on Friday in Dijon. “We have this ability to find work for the players we recruit in a region that is not very affected by unemployment.“, confides Renaud Fabre, referring to the operation.
“We identify elements of the future or in search of recovery to evolve in a team at the top of D2. But every year, we are prepared to lose our best elements. And it may be worse this year because our journey has aroused the curiosity of many recruiters“, he explains again. The workforce trains five evenings a week in a country stadium with rather random practice conditions and comfort, like the locker rooms. A striking contrast with the ultra-professional facilities including enjoy PSG or Lyon.The group still includes six international players, Christine Manie and Dolores Tsadjia (Cameroon), Clara Moreira (Portugal), Iman El Ghazouani (Morocco), Chelsea Surpis (Haiti) and Rael Steinschenider (Israel). all these logistical difficulties and this lack of resources have helped to unite this club, happy to be, for once, in the spotlight.