Nantes fires coach Kombouaré 4 four games from end of season
NANTES, France (AP) — French club Nantes fired coach Antoine Kombouaré on Tuesday with four league games left to play and the team deep in relegation trouble.
The club said it reached a mutual decision with Kombouaré, a former Nantes defender, to end his contract. He will be replaced on a temporary basis by Pierre Aristouy, who is promoted from his position as reserve team coach.
Nantes is in 17th place in the league, with four of the 20 clubs getting relegated this season. Auxerre is two points ahead of Nantes in 16th place, with Brest and Strasbourg three points ahead of Nantes.
Kombouaré led Nantes to the French Cup title last year, the club’s first trophy since 2001, having saved it from relegation the previous season.
Although Nantes reached the French Cup final again this season, his side was routed 5-1 by Toulouse, and Nantes has not won any of its past 11 league games.
Kombouaré, who was reportedly at odds with club president Waldemar Kita for some time, has deep links with Nantes.
Kombouaré was part of the team when the Stade de la Beaujoire opened in 1984 and played 177 games as a rugged defender for Nantes, which has a distinctive all-yellow strip and is the fourth-most successful French club with eight league titles.
He also had coaching stints with several other French clubs, including at Paris Saint-Germain between 2009-11. Kombouaré was fired by PSG in December 2011 — following the takeover by Qatari owners earlier that year — and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
“Nantes would particularly like to thank Antoine Kombouaré. A true leader, he managed to keep the club in the first division at the end of the 2020-21 season,” the club wrote on its website. “He was also one of the main architects of our magnificent last season, finishing ninth in the league and winning the French Cup.”
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The Associated Press