Impossible is nothing for RCF’s Martin-Brisac

“Impossible n’est
pas Français” – quoting Napoleon, this is Racing Club de France’s Simon
Martin-Brisac’s mantra ahead of what looks a massive task in the EHL KO16.
The French
champions will face SV Kampong on 25 March, 2016 in the Wagener Stadium knowing
that they are heavy under-dogs but the striker – one of the stars of last
August’s European championships – says it is all about perspective and his side
will be ready positive for the challenge.
Asked his thoughts about the draw for the
KO16, the first RCF will take part in, Martin-Brisac told the EHL website: “It
is a dream or a nightmare, we don’t know!”
He adds that “it will be fantastic to play
such a great team, for sure, in such a magnificent stadium. But Kampong is a
hockey machine!
“They have so many good players… Harte, De
Wijn, Kemperman and Jonker are among the best players in their positions. They
are big favourites and we know we have very low chances to go to the KO8 but we
will try our best to give a good image of the club, of French hockey and try to
give a good spectacle for hockey lovers.”
Racing have had a superb start to the
season, building a seven-point lead at the top of the French elite division.
Martin-Brisac says that such a return was not overly anticipated in the summer
after Olivier Sanchez moved to the south of France, James Kirkpatrick returned
to Canada while Patrick Habblawetz also moved on.
Jean-David Koch was also unavailable due
to important law exams, meaning RCF would miss his goals – he netted 75 times
in the past three seasons.
“We knew we had lost in quality and
quantity and, before the first game of the season, we were in the doubt and
were a bit scared of not being able to maintain our status.
“But we managed to change our way of
playing. We really focused on defense. That has been our main strength during
the first part of the season. We only conceded 10 goals in 10 games, which is
not bad.
“It gave us confidence and I think we
developed new values: courage, solidarity and self-denial as we managed to win
some games in very difficult circumstances.
“So, we are really happy and proud of that
first part of the season. We did a great job with limited means.”
It gives them an inner-confidence to
tackle a Kampong side in the KO16. That will be their next competitive match,
though, as the French league does not return until April.
It makes for a tricky preparation period
for one of the biggest games of their season. As such, Martin-Brisac says that
Racing will have to find different ways to get up to the level of their rivals.
“Unlike countries qualified for the Olympics
in Rio, our championship starts very late in 2016. That’s a bad point for us
but we will have to deal with it.
“First, we will work very hard during
trainings, physical sessions and at the gym room with heavy-planning. There are
no other solutions.

“We have to be at 100% every minute
because Kampong will be at 100%, there is no doubt about it. Then, we are
looking for games in Europe (Germany, Belgium…) to get used to the European
level but the problem is that others championships will have started again and clubs
may not be available.
“I don't think there is an ideal
preparation and everything depends on our commitment and dedication. On the
plus side, all Kampong games are filmed and we can use these videos to analyze them.”
Despite the obstacles, he is confident
Racing Club de France will make the best of the situation and show "impossible
is not French".
short, there are solutions and the club is actively working on them in order to
find the best option. Sometimes, strange preparations make great results. Let’s
remember us of ‘Denmark 1992’ from football!”

Image Credit: Euro Hockey League/Frank Uijlenbroek. This image may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of the EHL or the photographer.