Football Season Guide

Nimes Olympique


Jens Thomasen (mid) (Odense); Thibaut Vargas (def) (Chateauroux); Malik Tchokounte (att) (Dunkerque), Axel Maraval (gk) (Dunkerque); Benoit Poulain (def) (Eupen); Ronny Labonne (def) (Lorient B); Mael de Gevigney (def) (Versailles); Jean N’Guessan (mid) (Nice, loan); Nicolas Benezet (mid) (free agent)


Anthony Briancon (r)(def) (Saint-Etienne); Theo Sainte-Luce (r)(def) (Montpellier); Antoine Vallerio (sp)(mid) (Rodez); Zinedine Ferhat (att), Sidy Sarr (mid), Pablo Martinez (r)(def) (all released); Julien Ponceau (sp)(mid) (Lorient), Per Kristian Bratveit (r)(gk) (Djurgarden); Mamadou Mbow (sp)(def) (Reims) (all loan ends)

Nimes flirted with relegation last season in what was a catastrophic campaign for a side that had previously been gone down from the top flight. Although they finished ninth, they were catapulted up the standings by a late run of three victories just as it seemed that they were about to be sucked into huge trouble. They were dogged by an off-field battle between the ultras and the owner, which continues to this day and shows little sign of relenting. Nicolas Usai, who was appointed in January, remains in charge of the team for this season. It appears he has designs on switching their primary formation to a 3-5-2, although there has been little success in their pre-season matches, with Nimes failing to score in any of their three matches to date. Nevertheless, the coach appears committed to playing in this system because he feels it will make his side more defensively solid. Certainly, Nimes have lost the spine of their side over the summer, with experienced centre-back Anthony Briancon going to Saint-Etienne and Pablo Martinez being released. Left-back Theo Sainte-Luce, meanwhile, is joining Montpellier. Defensive midfielders Antoine Valerio and Sidy Sarr have also departed. Zinedine Ferhat has been released after a year of squabbling with the club. In terms of signings, Nimes have brought a disparate group of players. Midfielder Jens Tomasen continues their trend of signing from Denmark, while Benoit Poulain arrives from Belgium to bolster the defence. They have bought leading third-tier players in, too, but given the likes of Axel Maraval and Malik Tchokounte were relegated with Dunkerque last season, this is hardly a seal of approval. Nimes, it appears, will have to lean on the survivors from last term to provide much of their quality. Much will be expected of Yassine Benrahou after a poor previous campaign, while the same can be said of striker Moussa Kone. Nicolas Benezet, meanwhile, is a wildcard pick up on the wing after training with the squad last season.


Nimes will expect to be more competitive than they were last season. They are a side that would typically expect to push for the playoffs but are likely to fall short of a real promotion challenge due to a simple lack of quality.