Antoine Kombouaré

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Antoine Kombouaré
Antoine Kombouaré (valenciennes).jpg
Kombouaré in 2007, during his tenure as manager of Valenciennes.
Personal information
Full name Antoine Kombouaré
Date of birth (1963-11-16) 16 November 1963 (age 50)
Place of birth Nouméa, New Caledonia, France
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Lens (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1982–1990 Nantes 177 (4)
1990–1995 Paris Saint-Germain 106 (3)
1995–1996 Sion 25 (7)
1996–1998 Aberdeen 44 (3)
Total 352 (17)
Teams managed
1999–2003 PSG Reserves
2003–2004 Strasbourg
2004–2009 Valenciennes
2009–2011 Paris Saint-Germain
2012–2013 Al-Hilal
2013– Lens
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Antoine Kombouaré (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃.twan kɔ̃.bwa.ʁe] ; born 16 November 1963) is a former French footballer and the current manager of RC Lens.

Playing career[edit]

Kombouaré started his career at FC Nantes and moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1990. At the Parisian club, he became famous for a winning header he scored in the dying seconds of a UEFA Cup quarter final against Real Madrid, in the 1992–93 season. The header qualified PSG for the next round with a 4–1 scoreline. Kombouaré had already scored a decisive goal in similar circumstances against Anderlecht in the previous round. His habit of netting tie-deciding headers earned him the name of "Casque d'Or", which means "Golden Helmet" in French. In 1994–95, during a UEFA Champions League quarter final against Johan Cruyff's FC Barcelona dream team, he captained Paris Saint-Germain to a resounding and unexpected 2–1 win which qualified the French side for the semi-final, which they lost to AC Milan.

In all, Kombouaré spent five seasons in Paris, winning the Coupe de France in 1993 and 1995, and the Coupe de la Ligue in 1995. He also played nine games in the title-winning side of 1993–94 under Artur Jorge. From 1992–93 he found his first-team appearances restricted by the presence of fellow defenders Alain Roche, Paul Le Guen and Ricardo. Kombouaré became a cult hero among PSG fans for his habit of scoring late-minute winning goals and his presence and composure in big games.

He signed for Swiss side FC Sion in 1995 for an undisclosed fee and joined Aberdeen a year later for £300,000 he was signed by manager Roy Aitken to add experience to the shaky Aberdeen defence. He made 50 appearances for Aberdeen and scored three goals. He left Aberdeen in May 1998. To this day, he is the only player to ever take a shot that cleared the top of the Richard Donald Stand at Pittodrie.

Managerial career[edit]

Strasbourg[edit]

In 2003, Kombouaré was already being tipped to coach Paris Saint-Germain, the club where he made his name as a player, and had spent four years coaching the reserves team with positive results. However, the arrival of Vahid Halilhodžić at the helm forced him to change his plans. He therefore joined RC Strasbourg where he achieved an impressive 13th spot in the league, playing some good football along the way. However, a poor start to the 2004–05 season led him to leave the Alsace club.

Valenciennes[edit]

In July 2005, Kombouaré was appointed at Valenciennes, then playing in the second tier of French football. In his first season, he led them to promotion to the top flight, a level from which the club had been relegated in 1993. In the three seasons that followed, Kombouaré helped the club to stabilize itself at the top level of French football. He improved the club's position in every season: 14th in 2006–07, 13th in 2007–08 and 12th in 2008–09, establishing his credentials as a coach who could achieve impressive results on a tight budget.

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

In May 2009, Kombouaré's former club Paris Saint-Germain came calling back to him, offering him the position of manager. He accepted and signed a 3-year contract, replacing Paul Le Guen, with whom he had played at FC Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain.[1] In 2009–10, the Parisian club, in spite of its new signings such as Mevlüt Erdinç and Gregory Coupet, performed poorly in the League and finished in mid-table. Kombouaré made up for this by leading the club to success in the Coupe de France, where they beat AS Monaco in the final.

In 2010–11, he again led the club to the Coupe de France Final, which they lost to French champions Lille OSC. In the Coupe de la Ligue, PSG looked set for a final showdown with fierce rivals Olympique de Marseille, but were stunned by Montpellier in the semi-final. The side performed much better in the league, finishing fourth in spite of a limited playing squad. The Parisians almost achieved qualification to the Champions League but were let down by tiredness and an inability to perform when it mattered most.[citation needed] However, the attacking brand of football played under Antoine Kombouaré's guidance brought acclaim from both fans and writers for the capital club, with many people[who?] agreeing that PSG were playing their best football since Luis Fernandez' first spell as coach between 1994 and 1996.[citation needed] PSG crashed out of the French League Cup and the Europa League and on 29 December 2011 – with his club top of the Ligue 1 table – Antoine Kombouare was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain's Sporting Director Leonardo and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, putting an end to much speculation about his position at the club. When he was sacked the club held the #1 position in the Ligue 1, the club ended the league as the runner-up to Montpellier HSC.

Al-Hilal[edit]

On 27 June 2012, it was confirmed that Kombouaré was appointed head coach of Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal FC on a one-year deal with an option for a second but he was sacked on 31 January 2013.

RC Lens[edit]

On 18 June 2013, Kombouaré became manager of RC Lens. He got the team promoted in his first season at the club, finishing in second place in Ligue 2.

Honours[edit]

As player[edit]

Paris Saint-Germain
Sion

As a manager[edit]

Valenciennes
Paris Saint-Germain
Lens

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haond, Patrick (28 May 2009). "Kombouare agrees PSG deal". Sky Sports. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 

External links[edit]