After two years of interruption, because of the health crisis, Philippe Renard was more than eager.
The president of the OC Gif football club kicked off the 16th edition of the Gif Cup this Saturday at the Michel-Pelchat sports park in Gif-sur-Yvette (Essonne).
An unmissable event for players born in 2010 playing in France, but also in Europe.
For this recovery, they were 40 clubs, including 16 professionals, to be registered on the starting board.
With one objective: to lift the cup.
“Obviously I came here to win, smiles Younès this Saturday, who plays for RC Lens.
For the moment we are not too badly started, with a victory and a defeat.
Young people who dream of becoming pros
This tournament, the young player had already heard of it.
And for good reason: Kylian Mbappé kissed the trophy in 2009 while playing for Rennes.
Since then, the one who will stay at PSG next season has won a World Cup and has just been voted best player in Ligue 1.
Other football stars have been there: Benjamin Mendy, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot, Kingsley Coman… So, at Gif, many of them dreamed of having the same career.
"I can't see myself doing anything else.
I already know that I want to go play at Real Madrid, because Benzema is there, slips Younès.
There, I mainly play as a left winger, but I also like to be in the middle.
Read alsoMbappé remains at PSG: dethroning Cavani, winning the Champions League … his next challenges with Paris
Véronique, her mother, is watching.
Football of course, but school above all.
“We keep telling him that only a minority of players manage to become professional.
And that he has to work hard first.
Because in sport too, you have to be able to read, write and even speak several languages.
"The business has killed the game a bit, it's a shame"
A speech that counterbalances what Philippe Renard can see on a daily basis.
Present for 20 years in the world of football, including seven at the head of the Gif club, he has noticed a change in mentality at the edge of the field.
“Some parents dream even more than their son, they already see them as professional footballers.
If they could, some would even take the coach's place, especially when they disagree with his decisions.
They think of their own interest and all that such a career could bring them.
The business has somewhat killed the game, it's a shame.
Patrick Teboul is the coach of the U 12s of AS Monaco.
In his career, he participated 13 times in the Gif Cup.
And during the 15th edition, in 2019, his team was beaten in the final by Paris FC.
“This is the tournament to be in.
This allows us to see where our young people are compared to others.
It became the end-of-season benchmark.
Values of respect, politeness and tolerance
Over the course of his career, he, too, has seen a change in behavior among parents.
“Many think that their child is the future nugget of football.
The problem is that they are sending them the wrong message.
Some do not agree with our decisions.
Except that we think first of the interests of the club, then of the group and then of the individual, he recalls.
I spend more time with my kids than my family.
These players are hungry for football but it's also my role to open their eyes, to tell them that very few succeed.
We are also there to talk to them about respect, politeness and tolerance.
It is essential for their future.
Gif-sur-Yvette, Sunday May 22, 2022. At the end of the last match, the players all celebrated the victory of Losc Lille.
This is also why Philippe Renard has always insisted on devoting his tournament to 12-year-olds.
“At that age, it's still the pleasure of playing that takes precedence.
The love of soccer.
We have kept this family spirit, he says.
When Mbappé came to play here, he was a child like any other.
Personally I didn't notice it.
Today is different.
We all know that the recruiters are there.
Around the field, I'm sure there are about fifteen of them looking for the rare pearl.
A pleasure to play still as palpable
Some comment on each performance.
“If you think he can stand out in this position, let's go, blows one of them to his colleague.
He still has a little time to evolve.
And the plus of a player remains the speed.
“Before, what we looked at was technique.
A Zidane for example.
The France 98 team was that, recalls Philippe Renard.
Now you have to be big and fast.
Fortunately, we still have technicians but this is no longer the priority.
This Sunday, if many hoped to stand out, the love of football was still palpable.
Like the final whistle, giving the winner to the Losc Lille team (North), against Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine).
Dozens of children ran to join those who were still their adversaries a few hours earlier to celebrate their victory.