Cazal takes over as Tunisia coach
24 Sep. 2022
Following the 2022 African Men's Handball Championship, where Tunisia finished fourth and failed to win a medal for the first time in history, the national handball federation decided to change the head coach. Sami Al-Saidi, who had been at the national team's helm since 2020, stepped down and was replaced by Frenchman Patrick Cazal.
For the 10-time African champions, missing out on a medal at the continental championship was not the only setback in recent years, as Tunisia also failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and finished 25th at the 2021 IHF Men's World Championship in Egypt. So now, Cazal's task is to improve the results of the North African team.
The 51-year-old Cazal had a successful playing career in the past, winning the 1995 and 2001 IHF Men's World Championship with France and claiming the EHF Cup in 2002 with the German club TUSEM Essen. Between 2008 and 2022, he worked at Dunkerque HGL, first as an assistant coach and since 2011 as head coach. His 11-year spell at the helm of the French team was quite successful, as Dunkerque won the Trophee des champions in 2012, the Coupe de la Ligue in 2013, and the French championship in 2014.
In his new position, Cazal will be assisted by former Tunisia national player Wissem Hmam. The former left back, who is now 41, is a symbolic figure for Tunisian handball. He enjoyed a successful playing career, winning several trophies with Esperance Tunis and Montpellier HB. He won the African Men's Handball Championship four times with the national team and became the top scorer at the 2005 IHF Men's World Championship, where his team finished fourth. Between 2019 and 2022, Hmam worked as an assistant coach at the French side Saint-Raphael, and now he has taken the same position at Tunisia national team.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Cazal